Anglo-Welsh land use priorities reviewed

Key challenges for more sustainability are managing development pressures, farming

Pressures on land are growing faster in England and Wales than at any time in the past, creating a need for new priorities for land use is to become sustainable, according to a new report by the Environment Agency of England and Wales. The agency sets out six priorities for action, including safeguarding wildlife species, improving soil condition, reducing wasteful uses of land and addressing the implications of climate change.

The study stresses that the greatest challenges lie in managing development and farming pressures. The proportion of urbanised land has already increased from 6% to 10% since 1945 and on current trends would rise to 18% by 2100. Farming has changed more over the last 50 years than ever before and is presenting increased risks of soil erosion and other environmental problems.

Regional sustainability plans must recognise the importance of environmental protection, development should be restricted in floodplains, and cities need to be designed so that people want to live in them, the report concludes. It welcomes the government's existing objective for 60% of new housing to be built on "brownfield" or previously developed sites.

Follow Up:
Environment Agency of England and Wales, tel: +44 1454 624 400. The study is entitled "The State of the Environment in England and Wales: The Land".

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