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Domestic Buildings Cover Only 1.1 Percent Of Land In England

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Domestic buildings cover only 1.1 percent of land in England.

I came across this official figure a while ago and thought it would change the debate on building homes. I expected this fact to be widely broadcasted and once and for all debunk the myth that the country is “concreted over”, as well as reduce opposition to house building. However, as this didn’t happen, I feel it’s important to put this fact out there and ask for help to spread it.

These are the actual numbers for England, they would be even lower for Britain.
(I'm sorry I don't know how to copy a table from a PDF to this post.)

Land use in England: rural and urban combined (Total):

Buildings and Roads:

Domestic buildings % = 1.1
Non-domestic buildings % = 0.65
Roads % = 2.22
Paths % = 0.1
Rail % = 0.13

Total "concreted over" = 4.2 percent

Green spaces:

Domestic gardens % = 4.26
Greenspace % = 87.46
Water % = 2.59
Other land % = 1.39

Total green spaces = 95.7 percent



This information is official, but unfortunately it's buried inside the Technical Report of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment 2011, the most comprehensive land survey ever done in Britain. Their press releases never mentioned this. Instead they went for some unclear classification of "urban" area, which is not what we understand as actually "urban", i.e. built-up. The press releases kept saying that "More than 6.8% of the UK’s land area is now classified as ‘urban’, with more than 10% of England", but in the technical report we see that almost 70% of these so called "urban" areas are actually GREEN spaces, and that less than a 20 percent of it is actually built up (covered by buildings, roads and streets), and even in London it's less than 30 percent. A footnote in the report even admits that even "Farmland is included in Urban greenspace classification".

Important to note that these figures are just for England. For Britain as a whole this number must be even lower, probably around 0.7 percent, since Britain's population density is 37% lower than England's (662/sq mi as opposed to 1054 according to Wikipedia).

These are the links to the report:

UKNEA front page: http://uknea.unep-wcmc.org/

But to find this information you have to go here: http://uknea.unep-wcmc.org/Resources/tabid/82/Default.aspx
scroll down to Technical Report, and download Chapter 10 Urban (FINAL PDF 4.9 MB)

The information on residential buildings is on page 368 table 10.3 Generalised Land Use Database (GLUD) for England: proportion of urban land by region. The bottom line of that table has the info I've copied above.


Please help spread this information. The most important information of all has not received its deserved attention in the national media. If all the homes in England, around 20 million homes, cover only 1.1 percent of its land, then of course we have plenty of space to build more homes for the young generation. Two million more homes would use only 0.1 percent of England's land! The NIMBYs and the so called "greens" would lose their main argument! Even if we also allowed 2 million gardens they would need less than 0.4 percent of England's land.

Please help, perhaps by contacting some journalists with access to the national media and pointing to this report and the breakdown of facts and figures, then perhaps they can spread this information far and wide to counter the mistaken general view / gut feeling the public has that England is concreted over.

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There was something else about this on over the last couple of weeks too.

I'm sure it was in R2 Jeremy Vines show and they were discussing something along these lines.

Except they were talking in square miles but the percentages were essentially the same.

Anyone else hear it?

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Obviously such stats look striking, but i dont really see much point in simply repeating most land is un-built on. Hong Kong for example, is probably 90+% unbuilt on, given its mostly mountainous. Id still consider it horribly overpopulated, despite lots of green space. Its not an argument in of itself

the argument for me is a moral one. Why should people be permanently underhoused regardless of whether 5% or 50% of land is developed.

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the argument for me is a moral one. Why should people be permanently underhoused regardless of whether 5% or 50% of land is developed.

Many people in the older generations who already got theirs don't care that younger people are permanently underhoused. Some of them even seem to enjoy it as it gives them a chance to lecture young people about how lazy and irresponsible they are and how if they want to own a house then they're going to have to work harder and give up all nonessential spending for the foreseeable future etc

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Does anyone find these figures frightening? or is it just me.

England land use.

The total land area of England is 129,720 km². Crops and fallow land accounts for 30% of the land area, grasses and rough grazing 36%, other agricultural land 5%, forest and woodland 8%, and urban development 21%

This can not be sustainable. But how long before there are major problems.

Conversley in Guyana with Forest and Woodland making up over 90% and pasture of just 6% there is neglible urbananisation with population of 765,283 Land area 214,970 pop. density less than 4 per km2 (England around 400 per km2)

and there is a massive uproar in the very small amount of deforestation. The people are poor and need land to develope and grow crops but the global community (mainly a few western countries) are hell bent on stopping them. Double standards?

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Does anyone find these figures frightening? or is it just me.

England land use.

The total land area of England is 129,720 km². Crops and fallow land accounts for 30% of the land area, grasses and rough grazing 36%, other agricultural land 5%, forest and woodland 8%, and urban development 21%

Source please?

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What are you scared of specifically?

If you need to ask you obviously are not scared

World populations (these are best guestimates by experts)

Billions year how long to achieve previous billion

1 1804 all time before

2 1927 130 years

3 1960 33 years

4 1974 14 years

5 1987 13 years

6 1999 12 years

7 2011 12 years

as @ Aug 1st 2014 7.25 billion

8 2021 10 years (projection at current rate) There are some differences of opinion with some saying it wont reach 7 billion (older predictions) ons saying year 2024 (they expect a big slowdown from current)

Does this not worry anyone at all? With China ending its one child policy and higher use of resources from the BRICS

Edited by Flat Bear

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If you need to ask you obviously are not scared

You're right, I'm not scared.

worldfert.jpg

Fertility (lifetime births per woman) is on the decline everywhere, even in Asia/Africa/South America. You don't need a 1 child policy, having smaller families is just what people choose to do when they reach a certain level of economic development. By the end of the 21st century 2 children per woman (or less) will likely be the norm on every continent and the world's population will top out at 10bn or so, less than 50% higher than it is now.

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FFS - why has this become a fertility doomer thread?

Ex-green started out with good refs, others contributed, then some knobs turned the thread into something else.

Edited by okaycuckoo

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FFS - why has this become a fertility doomer thread?

The main reason many people don't want greenfield construction in the UK is that their thinking is still stuck on the 1970s-style exponential overpopulation catastrophe meme. No quantity of land use statistics can override it. Simply repeating over and over again that only 5/10/20% of land in the UK/England is built on will not change people's minds.

Edited by Dorkins

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FFS - why has this become a fertility doomer thread?

Ex-green started out with good refs, others contributed, then some knobs turned the thread into something else.

too many knobs is the problem, mate :)

*I'll get me coat*

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The main reason many people don't want greenfield construction in the UK is that their thinking is still stuck on the 1970s-style exponential overpopulation catastrophe meme. No quantity of land use statistics can override it. Simply repeating over and over again that only 5/10/20% of land in the UK/England is built on will not change people's minds.

Fliriting has never been so easy. I feels de difference, but wot de hell yoo talkin bout?

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I post this info in the DT on most "concrete England" meme articles.

Most Boomers just don't want to know. To be a NIMBY is to be an emotional creature, inconvenient truths such as which the OP has delivered is ignored.

These cretins are more interested in HPI, greater crested newts, somewhere for their dogs to take a poop or just the view than their own children having the space to thrive. The same space their own parents provided for them to have in the post war building boom. Pretty sad to such brazen greed and hypocrisy.

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Obviously such stats look striking, but i dont really see much point in simply repeating most land is un-built on. Hong Kong for example, is probably 90+% unbuilt on, given its mostly mountainous. Id still consider it horribly overpopulated, despite lots of green space. Its not an argument in of itself

the argument for me is a moral one. Why should people be permanently underhoused regardless of whether 5% or 50% of land is developed.

My belief is that there are enough houses, the problem is to many people, the country is Economically over populated by a great number. And most new housing would be subsidised as they are now. Just more debt.

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Can't we not deal with the Wilsons and the other property hoarders first, before campaigning to provide the feckers with even more investments?!

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BBC R4 dealt with this on Friday - their statistics show, More Or Less, was addressing the myth of golf courses>residential homes in Surrey.

Direct link to segment (8 mins).

Thank you for the link okaycuckoo.

Very strange show though, why the comparison with golf courses?

And why the presenter's mocking tone? Soon after he says the numbers were right after all? So why the tone?

Then they implied that not including gardens in domestic buildings was a mistake, but the information was clearly about domestic BUILDINGS, with the garden numbers listed below.

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Thank you for the link okaycuckoo.

Very strange show though, why the comparison with golf courses?

And why the presenter's mocking tone? Soon after he says the numbers were right after all? So why the tone?

Then they implied that not including gardens in domestic buildings was a mistake, but the information was clearly about domestic BUILDINGS, with the garden numbers listed below.

The golf course comparison has been around for a couple of months - it seems to have made an impact. The show seems to back up your figures, but the golf course>houses point is bogus - as they point out, nobody would consider building houses on golf courses without gardens and infrastructure.

I think it's a very useful show. The jolly/mocking tone is permanent because newspapers/politicians always abuse statistics and people are foolish enough to continue paying attention to these liars.

The start of that episode also talks about Piketty. Worth a listen.

Edited by okaycuckoo

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Obviously such stats look striking, but i dont really see much point in simply repeating most land is un-built on. Hong Kong for example, is probably 90+% unbuilt on, given its mostly mountainous. Id still consider it horribly overpopulated, despite lots of green space. Its not an argument in of itself

the argument for me is a moral one. Why should people be permanently underhoused regardless of whether 5% or 50% of land is developed.

But I used to believe that more then 20 percent of Britain was built up, and that was the main reason I was totally againnt building on "green land". I thought we were runing out of it!

If you ask someone who never heard about the real numbers how much of Britain they think is "concreted over" I'm sure most will say a huge number, like 30 percent or more. And because of this totally wrong view they will be against more buildings as well.

I changed my mind when I found out the real numbers. I used to be "green", but then I saw the real numbers.

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