Land Use Framework debated in the Lords

Peers echo five key findings from FFCC's Land Use Framework pilots

31st July 2023

The House of Lords Land Use Committee's recommendations, including a Land Use Framework for England, have been debated by peers in the upper House.

Some of the essential features that will help make the government's 2023 framework a success saw strong support from members. Baroness Boycott said that the conclusions of FFCC's Land Use Framework pilot projects in Devon and Cambridgeshire, that highlight the importance of these features, are "really heartening", and added "We must have a Land Use Framework for England which will ... join up land use policy-making across government departments, especially between land use planning, agriculture and the natural environment", reflecting FFCC's findings that the Framework needs to be cross-departmental.

Better use of data is also vital - so that the Framework can bring existing (good-enough) data together effectively, which leads to better decisions.

The Earl of Leicester emphasised this point: "It was encouraging to see ... the Government’s acknowledgement of the importance of making open sources of data more accessible and usable for land managers. That can only improve management decisions."

To be successful, the Framework needs to be both top down and bottom up. The Committee's Chair, Lord Cameron of Dillington, echoed this finding: "We need to ... plan, both from the top down, ... but also ... it is vital that we work from the bottom up, using local authorities and new local nature recovery strategies."

An effective Framework can help ensure effective public engagement, and in doing so improve the legitimacy and implementation of difficult decisions.

Baroness Mallalieu underlined the importance of this attribute. "I want [the Land Use Framework] to be about ... working closely with stakeholders - if it is to be effective - ... with landowners and managers ... local authorities and the relevant public bodies, taking account of and responding to local conditions."

A well-designed Framework can help long-term planning beyond the political cycle. Peers supported this approach - Lord Lucas called for "a connected, comprehensive and long-term look at how we use land in this country—something that is full of research, revision and questioning."

The results of our pilots show that convening leadership, better use of data, engaging communities, and clear policies and incentives will be key attributes for an effective #LandUseFramework.