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Land use change in England
Land use change in England
Keywords: Land use, England, Residential
New statistics of changes in land use are published by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Land Use Change in England, No. 14, Statistical Bulletin).
The Bulletin presents figures for the proportion of new dwellings built on previously developed land. This indicator is used to monitor progress towards the national target, set last year, to raise the percentage of new homes that are built on previously developed land to 60 per cent by 2008. Other results show the density of new housing development, the proportion of new housing development taking place within and outside Green Belts, changes to other urban uses and rural changes.
Changes to residential use between 1985 and 1997:
The percentage of new dwellings built on previously developed land was 52 per cent in 1997. This was one percentage point lower than in 1996, but the indicator has remained close to 50 per cent since data on dwellings were first collected in 1989. These figures do not include conversions of existing buildings, which are estimated to add another three percentage points.
Although 52 per cent of new dwellings in 1997 were built on previously developed land, only 46 per cent of the land used for dwellings was previously developed. This is because new dwellings are built at higher densities on previously developed land (see below).
The latest regional figures available are for 1995. The proportion of new dwellings built on previously developed land varies significantly between regions, ranging, in 1995, from 36 per cent in the South West, to 84 per cent in London. (These figures exclude conversions.)
Density of dwellings built between 1989 and 1997:
Over the period 1989 to 1997, dwellings were built at an average density of 28 dwellings per hectare on previously developed land, and 21 dwellings per hectare on land not previously developed.
One quarter of all new dwellings built were at densities of fewer than 20 dwellings per hectare, and nearly one half of all new dwellings were built at a density of fewer than 30 dwellings per hectare.
Land use change within Green Belts in 1997:
For the first time, the Bulletin presents new statistics of land use change within Green Belt. The coverage is limited to changes to residential use, but this will be expanded to other changes in future Bulletins as more information becomes available.
In 1997, it was estimated that Green Belts covered about 13 per cent of England. However, only 2 per cent of new dwellings built were on Green Belts land. Over half of all land designated as Green Belt land that changed to residential use was previously developed – a higher recycling rate than outside Green Belts.
Changes to urban uses:
The annual average change from rural to urban uses declined from 8,000 hectares per year in 1988 to 6,500 hectares per year in 1992.
All changes to urban uses in 1994 amounted to 13,000 hectares (0.1 per cent of the total area of England). About half of this land had been previously developed. In 1994, 48 per cent of all land changing to urban uses was on previously developed land.
Quality of Life Counts – Indicators for a Strategy for Sustainable Development in the UK:
The Department's Quality of Life Counts – Indicators for a Strategy for Sustainable Development in the UK is also published today, which includes as a headline indicator of the percentage of dwellings built on previously developed land, taken from land use change statistics.