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This topic covers land use, land use change, land cover and inland waterways.


Key Scottish Environment Statistics
Department: Scottish Government
Summary statistics for a wide range of environmental topics and main "drivers". These include electricity generation, road traffic, population and households.
River Water Quality Indicator for Sustainable Development
Department: Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Chemical and biological water quality of UK rivers.
Sustainable Development indicators
Department: Office for National Statistics
These indicators provide an overview of progress toward a sustainable economy, society and environment. Published alongside the headline and supplementary indicators are assessments of change, both short and long term.

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A wide range of statistics on land use, changes in land use, land cover and inland waterways are available from a variety of sources and include agriculture, forestry, and urban land. Statistics are also available on broad habitats, landscape features and protected and designated areas. The Countryside Survey provides a wide range of information on land cover.

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Technical Data

Statistics are available covering:

  • Agriculture, land use and agricultural schemes  

  • Land use

  • Land use changes

  • Urbanisation in England

  • Countryside Survey

  • Forestry

  • Green Belts

  • Stock of Broad Habitats

  • Landscape Features

  • Protected areas

  • Transport, freight and waterways administered by port/harbour authorities

  • British Waterways (see the Land and Inland Waterways sections of the Defra website for further details)

See the Land and Inland Waterways sections of the Defra website for further details.

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  • Arable

    Land dominated by cereals and other arable crops, as well as intensively managed grassland.

  • Biogenetic Reserves

    Established by the Council of Europe to conserve representative examples of European flora, fauna and natural areas, and to encourage biological research.

  • Biosphere Reserves

    Established in 1974 by UNESCO as areas of protected land which would eventually form a world-wide network of sites linked by common international standards, to facilitate the exchange of information relevant to the conservation of natural and managed ecosystems.

  • Crown density

    The amount of light passing through the crown of a tree. Used as an indicator of tree health.

  • Landscape types

    Broad-scale divisions of the countryside into areas which have similar characteristics of geology, altitude and climate, and generally similar patterns of land use, land cover and wildlife.

  • Marginal upland

    Areas which are on the periphery of the uplands, and which are dominated by mixtures of low intensity agriculture, forestry and semi-natural vegetation.

  • Pastural

    Mainly grasslands.

  • Reclamation

    Formerly derelict land brought back into beneficial use.

  • Recycling

    Previously developed land, usually urban, brought back into beneficial use. A means of promoting urban renewal and minimising the need to develop previously undeveloped land in the countryside.

  • Upland

    Land generally above a height suitable for mechanised farming and frequently dominated by sheep farming and semi-natural vegetation.

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Contact Details

For statistical enquiries about this topic, please contact:

Stephen Hall

Email: sdindicators@defra.gsi.gov.uk

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7238 4694

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