Britain’s AI ambitions threaten its green belt. They don’t have to.

By Tom Bristow | 06/20/2024 06:05 AM EDT

Labour wants to make it easier to build data centers. The industry is already moving on.

LONDON — On a swathe of farmland opposite a golf course at London’s most easterly end, local planners, politicians and investors want to build Europe’s biggest data center.

The 500-acre site near Upminster, earmarked by U.S. developer Digital Reef, is meant to be protected land, part of the city’s outer ring known as the green belt.

Developers are increasingly hoping to build on green belt land as they race to meet rocketing demand for bigger, faster and more efficient data centers.


Until now, Britain’s planning laws have stood in their way. That could soon change, however.