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, transport and energy infrastructures.
In England, unlike other parts of the UK, there is no framework for land use decision making, so we need to learn from others and test ideas for a more strategic and effective approach.
Find out more below
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.
The diagram below brings together the findings so far into six shared principles, under the headings Place, People and Public Value.
FFCC’s two pilot projects are testing this out and adapting the framework to see how it can be integrated into land use decision making longer term.
"Every piece of land offers something for nature, for food production, for recreation and enjoyment, for multiple purposes."
FFCC Commissioner Dame Fiona Reynolds at Lords Land Use Committee hearing
By working together, local government, farmers, landowners 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 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, 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.
FFCC have convened a Land Use National Group with high level representation from Government, NGOs and professional leaders 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.
The aim of a land use framework is to establish an integrating, collaborative and place-based approach to land use decision making, to mediate complex requirements from land and to generate multiple benefits for nature, communities and a fair and sustainable future.
Achieving this goal can be made up of a number of steps.