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.
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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