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House of Lords report highlights work by University research team

Work by University of Gloucestershire’s Countryside and Community Research Institute (CCRI) has helped to inform a new House of Lords report examining the pressures and challenges around land use in England.

Entitled ‘Making the most of England’s land’, the House of Lords Land Use Committee report includes written evidence from CCRI researchers involved in international and national research projects that aim to develop innovative approaches to land use.

These projects include PEGASUS, a European research project aimed at developing new ways of thinking about the way farmland and forests are managed, and LANDWISE, in which researchers joined forces with farmers, advisors, communities and local authorities to learn how different land management methods impact on flood risk.

The new report looks at a number of areas around land use, including housing, food strategy, nature and biodiversity, recreational activities and green infrastructure.

Chris Short (pictured left), Associate Professor in Environmental Governance at the CCRI, said: “This report comes at a really important time when there are increasing pressures on land use arising from the need to tackle climate change, reverse the loss of biodiversity and the health and wellbeing of the population.

“Many sectors are going through difficult times as they transition to meet these challenges, which makes the need for a joined-up approach to land use all the more important.”

As well as providing written evidence, CCRI researchers discussed current land use challenges with members of the committee on a site visit to the Sapperton Wilder estate – home to the Sapperton Nature Recovery Project – in Gloucestershire.

PhD student Aimee Morse, who was part of the CCRI team coordinating the written evidence, said: “It was really positive that the committee has picked up on the work of the CCRI and a great pleasure to see it inform their thinking.”

The committee recommended that an independent commission should be set up to work across local and national government to enable an integrated approach to the use of land in England.

The report says: “Land use in England is changing radically. Moving away from a landscape dominated by food production, we are now facing the challenges and opportunities of a new environment where nature and biodiversity restoration, carbon sequestration, new development and infrastructure needs and the role of the land for energy, access and wellbeing are all taking on a greater priority.”