Food, Farming and Countryside Commission

Land use framework

Approaches to land use have typically been siloed, with land too often being seen as only able to fulfil a single purpose at a time.

Land can and should deliver multiple benefits.

Low input farming can simultaneously improve profit margins, productivity and provide environmental benefits. Forestry and agroforestry can support sustainable food and timber production, nature restoration and carbon sequestration.

Current approaches to land use policy inhibit the potential for land to deliver these multiple benefits. Our initial inquiry and subsequent consultations have found that governance of land is highly fragmented. Siloed systems encourage tensions between initiatives, with differing governing bodies, schemes and targets often directly clashing in their policy goals. Failure to capitalise on synergies in land usage has resulted in land not fully delivering on its potential to offer a range of public needs. A more strategic approach to land use would enable it to play a better role in delivering key social, economic and environmental objectives and aligning resources for public value.

This is a pressing need. The UK is faced with burgeoning climate, nature and health crises. Land is the nation’s most valuable asset. From farming for healthy food and enabling carbon sequestration to supporting habitat creation, a large part of the solution to these crises is to be found on and in the land.

Our goals:

We want to see a common vision for land to shape through the introduction of a national land use framework. This framework would:

  • Support government goals of transformational change in sectors such as housing, farming and climate change
  • Alleviate pressures and tensions currently experienced within land disputes
  • Facilitate multifunctionality to use land to its full potential
What we are doing now:
  • Convening the leadership to design a framework for land use in the UK
  • Consolidating the broad principles of a national land use framework, including its vision, its operation and its implementation
  • Piloting a land use framework at a county level
  • Developing detailed policy recommendations for the implementation of a framework

To move from recommendation to implementation, the Commission hosted a St George’s House consultation in February 2020 to focus on issues of land use and to test our propositions. The consultation brought together senior civil servants, policy makers, planners, landowners, environmental campaigners and leaders from farming and other rural organisations to key questions surrounding land use.

Read the St George's House land use consultation report: Making the best use of our land.

Read the briefing paper: The case for a land use framework.

For more information on this strand of work, or if you'd like to be involved, please email