Agriculture: Land

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 20th September 2022.

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Photo of Baroness Jones of Whitchurch Baroness Jones of Whitchurch Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the CPRE report Building on our Food Security, published on 22 July, which identified a hundredfold increase in house and infrastructure construction on prime agricultural land since 2010.

Photo of Lord Benyon Lord Benyon The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

We welcome the CPRE report and analysis on development on prime agricultural land. This report highlights some of the ongoing and emerging challenges of use of land to achieve food security, housing need and energy security.

The Government recognises the importance of food security, which is why we published the Food Strategy earlier this year. The Food Strategy puts food security at the heart of the government's vision for the food sector. It aims to broadly maintain the current level of food that we produce domestically and boost production in sectors where there are the biggest opportunities. We are seeking to deliver as much as we can on our limited supply of land, to meet the whole range of Government commitments on food, housing, climate, and the environment. To help achieve this, we will publish a Land Use Framework in 2023 which will set out land-use change principles to balance these outcomes.

The National Planning Policy Framework sets out clearly that local planning authorities should consider all the benefits of the best and most versatile agricultural land when making plans or taking decisions on new development proposals. Where significant development of agricultural land is shown to be necessary, planning authorities should seek to use poorer quality land in preference to that of a higher quality.

We work closely with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to ensure that planning policy continues to support agriculture and food production as well as delivering other goals for housing, infrastructure and the environment.

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