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Land Use Change

January 2006, Department of Town and Regional Planning, University of Sheffield

This document reports on a series of data analyses commissioned by The Countryside Agency in support of its second assessment of change in countryside quality in England. It plays a part in extending the work of the Countryside Quality Counts project (CQC) to cover the period 1998 to 2003, and more generally contributing to addressing long-term concerns with change in countryside character and quality.

The principal focus of the report is with settlement and development issues. Extensive use is made of the Land Use Change Statistics (LUCS) collected by Ordnance Survey for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Royal Mail’s Postcode Address File (PAF). The report provides a fairly a fairly rich picture of change in settlement and development between 1998 and 2003. It confirms the substantial success of the government’s policy of diverting new housebuilding into urban areas, and shows relatively modest growth at the urban fringe (in historic terms). It also exposes a far more differentiated and complex pattern of change in the broader countryside involving the marked intensification of residential use of hamlets and isolated farms.

The report also introduces a series of new and innovative techniques which have broad application in analysing settlement and land use change.

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