An influential Lords Committee has recommended the establishment of a new commission in England to improve decisions and processes determining how land is used.
The focus of the commission would be to develop a framework to guide stakeholders – landowners, managers and other decision-makers – in their decisions on land use, in relation to, for example, food production, nature restoration, housing, infrastructure, and so on. In reaching this conclusion, the Land Use in England Committee ran an inquiry in 2022, with a range of experts and organisations feeding in.
IEMA CEO Sarah Mukherjee MBE provided insights at one of the Committee’s oral evidence sessions. The key for IEMA is for any land use framework to take a holistic approach to environmental protection and enhancement, i.e. one that goes beyond narrowly defined interpretations of ‘nature’. Further still, appropriate skills and resources need to be in place to properly integrate biodiversity and natural capital considerations into decision-making.In its final report, which was published in December, the Committee also recommended that government set out more detail in relation to how Environmental Land Management Schemes will work in practice. The case for the effective development of Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRS) and the role that they could play in engaging communities in
decisions concerning land use is also made in the report. It is important to recognise that the majority of the Committee’s report is focused on land use outside the conventional planning system. It remains critical that there is legalisation and policy in place that ensures effective environmental impact assessment is a key component of development. This is something that IEMA continues to champion.
For more details of the Lords’ Land Use Committee’s report, visit bit.ly/Land_Use_report