A new land cover atlas of the United Kingdom, created by a University of Sheffield professor, has shown that just six per cent of UK is built on.

More than half of the UK land is used for agriculture, according to a new set of maps created by Professor Alasdair Rae from the Department of Urban Studies and Planning.

Only around six per cent of the country is built on with 83 per cent of its population living in towns and cities. The most built up of the home nations is England with nine per cent of the land built on.

Professor Rae said: “It may feel like a very densely populated urban nation, but the reality is that the vast majority of the land area of the UK is not built on.”

The Professor has also created the first individual maps for each of the UK’s 391 local authority areas, using Corine Land Cover data from 2012. The BBC have also used this data to create an interactive online tool, showing how the land is used, classifying it in four broad categories: ‘farmland’, ‘natural’, ‘built on’ and ‘urban green’.

In the UK the most built up local authority is the City of London with 98 per cent of its area built on. Professor Rae added: “At a local level things can be very different from the national picture, so it is important to know how land is being used as there are often competing needs.

“By knowing the makeup of the local landscape it is easier to make informed decisions about how land should be used and plan for the future.”


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