A land use framework for England

FFCC publishes inclusive, evidence-led land use framework proposal for England

15th August 2022

Three years in to our work with communities and local partners, we publish our findings for a proposal for a land use framework for England.

The growing interest in land use - and land use decision making - is welcome. In 2019, FFCC proposed a land use framework in our report Our Future in the Land. Since then, we have been working with local and national stakeholders to develop a practical, systems approach, workable for everyone, and at national and local spatial scales.

Sue Pritchard, FFCC Chief Executive, said, “The UK has finite land resources. We need a radical rethink if we are going to be able to grow enough food, restore biodiversity and nature, de-carbonise the economy and adapt to climate change, while also building all the new homes, transport and energy infrastructure the government has promised. Our proposed Land Use Framework for England is a systems-thinking approach which will enable integrated, collaborative and place-based decision making, optimising multifunctional benefits from the land.

“Our two local projects, in Devon and Cambridgeshire, demonstrate how important it is that any land use framework must be transparent, open, inclusive, and evidence-led, bringing together citizens’ voices and the many different datasets that must support better, more sustainable decisions about land use. We hope this inclusive, ‘action research’ approach will add real and practical value to these essential decisions.”

Our work with national stakeholders and local communities is ongoing, and our county projects will report back in spring 2023.

Download the proposal above.

Listen to FFCC Deputy Director Tom Burston explain our proposal for a land use framework for England. Full interview on BBC Radio Four Farming Today

Responses to FFCC's land use framework proposal

“Modelling land use theories is a compelling and seductive response to the urgent challenges we face, but risks failing to meet the ambitions of policymakers.

If land use decisions are to deliver government targets effectively, the government’s land use framework for England will need to integrate a multifunctional approach to land, a broad range of data sets, and communities’ local knowledge.

FFCC’s land use framework prioritises all of these qualities - and has been developed and tested in and with communities and local partners.

Every community is made up of multiple attributes which characterise what makes it a ”place” and more than just a geographic location. The technologies and datasets exist to help us prioritise all of these aspects and it would be oversimplistic to ignore these precious insights ”

Judith Batchelar, Food Matters International

“Land is a precious and finite resource that is key to tackling the climate and nature crises, as well as public health and inequality.

FFCC’s proposals for a more open and transparent way to make decisions about land - a land use framework - are grounded in their action research work with citizens and organisations in places that will be most affected by the major land use changes to come.”

Professor David Hill, CBE, Founder of The Environment Bank and Esmee Fairbairn Foundation Trustee