Last edited 08 Sep 2022

Land use in the UK


[edit] Introduction

Land use is the exploitation of land and its resources, that is, the managing and modifying of natural or urban environments for the benefit of humans. This benefit may accrue to individuals, companies, local and regional authorities and nation states. The way land is used varies considerably across the world due to geographical, geological, climatic, cultural and economic reasons.

Land is a scare commodity so its use is usually dictated by economics, achieving maximum efficiency, regardless of whether it is to be used for agricultural, residential, recreational, industrial or urban purposes. However, land use is also dictated by the biological and physical nature of the land in question: good soil can lead to agricultural use, whereas elevated land can be used for settlements due to the lower risk of flooding. Major changes in land-use patterns have occurred over the centuries due to the effect of food production, power availability, transportation, popultion growth, climate change, resource depletion, communication technologies and so on.

Around 10,000 years ago, humans started to modify the landscape extensively with the domestication of plants and animals. The large-scale clearing of land also occurred to create settlements and agriculture. As populations grew, settlements became larger with a network of structures built, altering the land.

Since 1750, the major effect of land use has been deforestation of temperate regions, More recently, this has been accompanied by soil erosion, soil degradation, salinisation and desertification.

Over the past half century, the dramatic increase in urban populations globally has resulted in urban sprawl, where cities consume agricultural and open space around them. This phenomenon has emphasised the value of prioritising land use to limit urban growth (such as by the creation of green belts). Furthermore, zoning regulations provide a controlled and regulated use of land for the benefit of society.

[edit] Use classes

In the UK, the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 categorises land use into categories known as ‘use classes’. For England, these are generalised very broadly below but it is up to local planning authorities to determine which category a particular use falls into. The use classes are:

[edit] Part A

[edit] Part B

[edit] Part C

[edit] Part D

[edit] Sui Generis

Planning permission is usually required to change from one use class to another e.g a change from offices (B1) to dwellings (C3).

See also: Types of land.

[edit] Other definitions

Global Warming of 1.5 ºC, Glossary, published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2018, suggests that land use: ‘…refers to the total of arrangements, activities and inputs undertaken in a certain land cover type (a set of human actions). The term land use is also used in the sense of the social and economic purposes for which land is managed (e.g., grazing, timber extraction, conservation and city dwelling). In national greenhouse gas inventories, land use is classified according to the IPCC land use categories of forest land, cropland, grassland, wetland, settlements, other.’

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[edit] External links

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