Food, Farming and Countryside Commission

Land Use Framework

For better decisions about land

We ask a lot of land.

We need it to grow food, restore biodiversity and nature, decarbonise the economy and adapt to climate change - while also providing space for new homes, access to nature for leisure and wellbeing, and the infrastructure for business, energy and transport.

In England, unlike other parts of the UK, there is as yet no framework for land use decision making, and we want to test ideas for a more strategic and effective approach, learning from what works as we go.

Find out more below

Land Use Framework resource hub

What is a land use framework?

A framework in England would consist of a set of agreed principles and practices that are embedded across local, regional and national organisations, guiding decision making. It could also be integrated into support schemes for landowners and farmers to enable them to align their decisions to the same principles.

FFCC's focus now is to work with communities, businesses, NGOs and local authorities, to test how this might work in practice in different parts of England.

Click on the interactive visual below to find out more about the principles of a land use framework.

Land-led

Land should be used for the things which it is best at, going with the grain, learning from experience/history, appropriate to the geology, soil and landscape character.

Adaptative and resilient

Land should be used in a way that adapts to and mitigates change created by the climate crisis and the uncertainties and risks brought by increased flooding and drought, enabling communities to respond to multiple future scenarios.

Locally responsive

Landowners should lead decision making, informed by local needs and aspirations and mindful of responsibilities to their local environment and community.

Outward and future focused

Local decision-making should take into account impacts on other communities, the non-human world and on the needs and wellbeing of future generations.

Multifunctional

Land must be used to bring about multiple benefits to address different human and ecological needs, working across departments and agencies, and taking more connected account of land use interactions and potential unintended consequences, to identify public value.

Integrative

Land should be viewed as a whole system, and managed collaboratively, joining up the nation’s targets, needs and aspirations to enable better land use decisions to be taken across a wider area.

Land should be used for the things which it is best at, going with the grain, learning from experience/history, appropriate to the geology, soil and landscape character.

Land should be used in a way that adapts to and mitigates change created by the climate crisis and the uncertainties and risks brought by increased flooding and drought, enabling communities to respond to multiple future scenarios.

Landowners should lead decision making, informed by local needs and aspirations and mindful of responsibilities to their local environment and community.

Local decision-making should take into account impacts on other communities, the non-human world and on the needs and wellbeing of future generations.

Land must be used to bring about multiple benefits to address different human and ecological needs, working across departments and agencies, and taking more connected account of land use interactions and potential unintended consequences, to identify public value.

Land should be viewed as a whole system, and managed collaboratively, joining up the nation’s targets, needs and aspirations to enable better land use decisions to be taken across a wider area.

Progress towards a land-use framework

By working together, local government, farmers, landowners, businesses, communities and other stakeholders can help design land use frameworks for their areas. Ultimately, there's potential for Local Plans, Nature Recovery Strategies, local transport plans, ELMS farming support, water and energy infrastructure proposals and many more land use plans to be better aligned, so they work in a more integrated way, and produce better outcomes for everyone.

Devon Pilot

Devon has a mix of different types of land, competing land use pressures and complex land use governance arrangements. There are multiple local plans that try to address these issues but a Devon land use framework would help navigate this complexity to join up approaches and help deliver all the demands placed on land.

Cambridgeshire Pilot

Cambridgeshire, with its very different land pressures, is an ideal location for a trial. Challenges include: intense development pressures in the south and west of the county but under-investment in the north; social and economic inequalities; a degraded natural environment; and a lack of transport connections in some areas.

Land Use National Group

FFCC has convened a Land Use National Group with high-level representation from Government, NGOs and professional leaders to contribute their expertise and insight, and to explore how the framework approach could be incorporated in government department thinking and planning and how lessons from the pilots could inform national-level action. This group is also capturing learning from the work in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland towards more strategic and joined-up land use decision making.

Steps to a Land Use Framework: 1-3

Establish a group

Scope data and documents

Create a working framework

Steps to a Land Use Framework: 4-6

Test the working framework

Learn and adapt

Share learning and experience

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