Making the best use of our land

13th July 2020

This report is from a Food, Farming and Countryside Commission St George's House consultation on how we can make best use of our land.

Find out more about our latest work towards a land use framework for England here

From food production and climate change to housing and infrastructure, land and its proper use is the decisive but often unspoken element in policy. Ours is the most densely populated major country in Europe and yet at present there is no strategic approach to resolving competing claims that arise over this precious and finite resource.

The St George's House consultation brought together a diverse cross section of senior civil servants, policy makers, planners and landowners, environmental campaigners and leaders from farming and other rural organisations to answer the following questions:

  • Given the triple emergencies of climate, nature and public health, what mechanisms currently exist for ensuring land uses that drive change in the right direction?
  • What’s the best way, in your view, to achieve integration of ambitions for sustainable land use?
  • At what levels (e.g. UK, national, regional, county, parish) should we try to achieve integration?
  • Would a standing Land Use Commission facilitate an integrated approach to land use, or add an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy?

The report summarises the findings of the consultation: outlining the historical and political context of land use in the country; the principles of a land use framework, and the next steps for how this can be implemented and piloted in England.