Review of key trends and issues in UK rural land use

18 September 2020

As part of the wider Living Landscapes policy programme, which will inform a long-term vision for how the UK manages its land in a holistic way that combines agricultural productivity with sound environmental stewardship. This report gives an overview of the interconnected governance frameworks, decision-making processes and complex challenges that have shaped UK land use.

The review — as carried out by researchers from the University of Reading's Department of History and Department of Real Estate and Planning — details the history and current system of rural land use decision making in the UK. This overview provides a baseline understanding of the current system in order to help diagnose its shortcomings. The main questions posed were:

  • How has the current system come to be, and how have things evolved over time?
  • Who are its key stakeholders?
  • Is the system effective locally, regionally and nationally?
  • How might it be made more effective?

The main lessons derived from this research are summarised around the three significant threads of governance, integration and multifunctionality

The findings of this intermediate report will feed into a larger policy report on Multifunctional land use to be published by the Royal Society in 2021.