Huge swathes of countryside are seriously threatened due to government disregard, a report from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) revealed today.
Over 27,000 hectares - roughly 36,000 football pitches - could be lost by 2020 due to the government's housing plans, the CPRE discovered.
Much of this land is currently designated as greenbelt.
CPRE found that the government repeatedly overlooks proposals to reduce environmental impact from regional planners.
"Ministers remain obsessed with centralised control despite paying lip service to localism", Liberal Democrat communities spokesperson Julia Goldsworthy said.
Despite the appeal to strengthen preservation and to make development plans more sustainable, regional housing targets have still been raised and environmental protection policies have weakened.
"This report exposes the emptiness of the government's rhetoric on both the environment and giving local people control over their area" Ms Goldsworthy said.
While recognising the need for more homes, CPRE's senior regional policy officer Fiona Howie said they should be delivered in a way that will not damage the environment or people's quality of life.
"Regional decisions should not be undermined by government," Ms Howie said.
"It is nonsense to plan as if land is an infinite resource. Current plans need to focus on the regeneration of urban areas and the reuse of previously developed land.
"Greenbelt land and open countryside need to be more highly valued and protected," she added.