Industry group calls for Government action over future land use

26 June 2014

The CLA says that a report - The Best Use of UK Agricultural Land by the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) - raises important questions over the future of UK land use.

The association, whose members own or manage over half the rural land in England and Wales, believes the report demonstrates that the industry has taken the lead and started the debate, it says, in the absence of any Government vision on land use.

CLA Midlands Rural Adviser Donna Tavernor said; “Clearly something needs to be done and this is the right place to start. The CISL vision is that by 2030 UK agricultural land will be optimised to support the multiple needs of 70 million people, while delivering an improved and sustainable natural environment.”

To achieve the vision, the report identifies five objectives, which are to improve UK food security, increase UK energy security, better protect nature, improve competitiveness and enhance recreation spaces.

Miss Tavernor continued: “The findings in this report need to act as a catalyst for change, but businesses need better direction from the Government to identify priorities for UK agricultural land, while farmers and land managers need clarity over what they are expected to deliver.

“Land is a finite resource, so land use needs to be multifunctional in the delivery of goods and services. Sustainable intensification, a reduction in food waste and a change in diet are just some of the ways in which we can release land for other purposes while continuing to meet a growing UK population’s food, space and energy needs - all of which landowners and farmers are best placed to provide.

“Many already use their land to provide multiple goods and services, often with no commercial return and we want to see improved competitiveness and more diversified income sources to encourage multifunctional land use.

“But to put the right conditions in place we need Government to endorse this vision, and to integrate all departments’ policies and actions to help achieve it.