As part of our land use framework pilot, we held a series of listening events across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough in spring 2022. We heard citizens' views about the places where they live, their relationships with land and nature, and their hopes, aspirations and fears about potential land use changes which would affect their and their children’s futures.
Overall, we found a real appetite for doing things differently and better. Citizens told us that:
- They want a better way for communities to input and influence decisions
- They want decision-making processes that encourage and incorporate people’s ideas, information, aspirations, knowledge and warnings
- They want expert knowledge on issues like health, social care, education, biodiversity, the climate to be brought into planning processes
- They want decisions to prioritise people, places and nature over profits
The results of the tour will be integrated into the testing and evaluation phase of the framework, influencing longer term decision-making that will improve lives and livelihoods in these communities.
We're working with local authorities, farmers, environmental agencies, NGOs and other interested groups to develop a land use framework for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and help better ways for making decisions about land evolve in the county.
The learnings from Listening to Cambridgeshire will be combined with land-based research and discussions with partners and stakeholders to offer a real-life insight into what local citizens' priorities are and what they want from where they live.
Piloting a land use framework on the ground in Cambridgeshire is a critical part of our research and advocacy work for a land use framework across the whole of England.
Across UK countries and counties, citizens are working for a fair and sustainable future. We curate these stories of hope and action in our Field Guide for the Future.
Explore stories from across the UK or scroll down for stories from Cambridgeshire
"More and more people are being pushed into food insecurity. And I think the answer is, don't make excuses for not using land wisely."
Gavin Shelton, Founder and CEO
"We are starting to ask how we can think differently and shift the narrative away from equating food waste with solving food poverty, or simply handing out boxes of food, to a deeper and more participatory engagement in the food system."
Sam Dyer, Chief Executive
The people of Cambridgeshire face significant challenges: a gulf between rich and poor, a degraded natural environment, poor connections between rural and urban areas, and intense pressures for development that are challenging the natural resource base, especially water. The county is also part of a vital agricultural region, which is adapting its farming practices in the face of climate change.
Cambridgeshire's excellent soil makes it an important location for a wide variety of crop and horticultural production, as well as pig and poultry farming, with three-quarters of the county's land used for agriculture. The county is home to the Fens, areas of low-lying marshland many of which were drained centuries ago to form agricultural land. The low-lying nature of the land and coastal erosion makes it vulnerable to rising sea levels, whilst low levels of rainfall in the region generally makes it vulnerable to water shortages. The agricultural and food and drink industry is a major employer in the county, and post-Brexit migrant labour a critical part of this complex puzzle.
Before our work in Cambridgeshire began, FFCC commissioned research into sustainable soil practice in the region, led by Iain Gould at Lincoln Institute of Agri-Food Technology (LIAT) and funded by the Ashden Trust, culminating in a 2019 report Sustainable Soil Practice and Promotion in Lincolnshire.