Almost 14,000 acres of Green Belt land have been lost to development since Labour came to power, figures have shown. Daily Telegraph

Essex, Kent, Cambridgeshire and the London suburbs, where there is a high demand for housing, have seen the greatest amount of protected countryside disappear.

The Midlands and the North have also been affected. Nearly 4,000 acres have been lost in Leeds.

The figures were made public by ministers following questions by Eric Pickles, the Conservative communities spokesman.