UK land use calculator

Experiment with choices for future UK land use with our interactive tool

A problem of supply and demand

We have a limited amount of land in the UK, and there are a great many competing ways in which it could be used. We need space for housing, farming, transport and nature, but it is hard to meet all of these conflicting demands at the same time. For example, residential land cannot be used for cattle grazing. However, there are also opportunities to free up land from existing uses. For example, changes in diet or a reduction in food waste could lead to less land being required for agriculture.

How would you use UK land?

Can we balance new demands for land with measures that would free up land? How do the various new demands for land compare in scale? What technological advances are realistic? What kind of policy changes may be necessary?

The calculator illustrates the issues involved in these questions. It lets you easily experiment with choices for future UK land use, and shows visually the nature and scale of their consequences. It is best viewed on desktop and laptop computers.

The calculator is aimed at anyone (specialists and non-specialists) with an interest in UK land use issues. It is intended to encourage discussion and exploration of these issues.

Try the land use calculator for yourself

On the left of the display are the 19 major demand factors that require additional land, and on the right are the 5 major supply factors that free up land for other uses. For each factor, you can choose from three alternatives for net change in land use by 2030. The values are in units of millions of hectares (Mha). One Mha is roughly 6.5 times the area of Greater London, and about one fifth of the area of all UK crop land.

Your challenge is to arrive at a scenario in which supply and demand of land are roughly in balance, as indicated by the scales. 

To help you make your choices, summary information for each factor is provided in the box below. You should choose values according to your preferences and what you believe is feasible by 2030.

Full details of the calculator and the assumptions on which it is based can be found in the UK Land Use Calculator Guide document.

Share a scenario or join the discussion To share your scenario or contribute to the discussion, please contact us.

Land demand (net change)

Land supply (net change)

Description

Click on a category in the legend for further information