5 September 2022

Written evidence submitted by Community Planning Alliance (FS0001)

Call for evidence:  food security[1]

We welcome the opportunity to submit evidence to this Committee’s inquiry into food security.   We also submitted written evidence to the Lords’ Land Use Inquiry, and I attended a round-table held by their Committee.

As an organisation operating in the planning system, we restrict our response to this inquiry to question 6: “How could the Government’s proposed land use strategy for England improve food security? What balance should be stuck between land use for food production and other goals – such as environmental benefit?”


Our map of planning campaigns includes 600 self-registered groups/campaigners all over the country.  These groups see at first hand that good farmland is lost every day and that the planning system does not protect it.   Our supporters are very concerned about the amount of agricultural land being lost from food production. 

The CPRE report[2] last month set out the position very clearly: since 2010, we have lost thousands of hectares of our finest agricultural land to often inappropriate development.  The pressures on land are myriad – from housing to infrastructure, biofuels and solar/renewables, to tree planting and rewilding.   Our supporters are also extremely concerned about the devastating impact of so many of these pressures on the environment and acutely aware that the UK is one of the world’s most nature-depleted questions.

Thus, the second part of your question is key – there must be a balance between food production and environmental benefit.  It is imperative that there is a national strategy that gives food production the importance it deserves – whilst not forgetting climate and biodiversity challenges. We do believe that food production can, and must, be done with the environment in mind.   It is therefore very welcome that DEFRA will publish a Land Use Strategy[3] in 2023 to begin to address these challenges:

“We will publish a land use framework in 2023 to ensure we meet our net zero and biodiversity targets, and help our farmers adapt to a changing climate, whilst continuing to produce high quality, affordable produce that supports a healthier diet.” 

It is essential that food security is reflected within the framework.    

Balancing priorities for land use will not be easy.   We support:

Our recommendations

  1. Aims of DEFRA’s 2023 Land Use Framework should build on the above and include: 
  2. The appointment of a new Minister of Sustainable Land Use (to include food security) with specific responsibility to ensure ongoing delivery of the land use framework and essential coordination of government departments.
  3. We must value our best farmland and there should be a ban on non-food uses on best and most versatile land (although regenerative/sustainable farming must be encouraged and supported)Non-food uses must instead be supported by government in the right place, such solar incentives for rooftops and car parks; incentives for higher-density brownfield housing rather than low-density, car-dependent urban sprawl on best farmland.  Updates to the National Planning Policy Framework must reflect this and must include references to the land use strategy when published.     Land use should be included in the next DEFRA Food Security report (it was omitted from the first one, published last year) so that the amount of land being lost from food production is first recognised and then prevented.
  4. A sustainable future must be at the heart of food security.   Intensive farming for immediate food security is not the answer if it continues the degradation of our natural capital and environment and risks our long-term food & climate security and biodiversity.  Regenerative agriculture must become the norm.  Food miles and their importance in reducing carbon emissions must be taken into account in any food security strategy: produce more at home to reduce carbon emissions


Natural capital assessments must play a key part in the creation of the land use strategy and in decision-making.   Mapping and resources must be publicly available to aid understanding of how land is being used currently.

  1. Stakeholder engagement.  Community groups, parish councils, neighbourhood planning groups and local stakeholders must be included in local decision-making.


We would be happy to discuss the above further.


Rosie Pearson


Communityplanningalliance@mail.com              www.communityplanningalliance.org

The Community Planning Alliance aims to support campaigners/campaign groups fighting inappropriate developments and to lobby for a planning system that involves communities, better protects the environment and ensures ‘right things, right places’.

[1] Call for Evidence - Committees - UK Parliament

[2] Land and how to use it - CPRE

[3] Government food strategy - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

[4] The National Food Strategy - The Plan

[5] Review of key trends and issues in UK rural land use | Royal Society

[6] A proposed land use framework for England - Food, Farming and Countryside Commission (ffcc.co.uk)

[7] Land of opportunity: a new land use framework to restore nature and level up Britain » Green Alliance (green-alliance.org.uk)

[8] Nature-friendly farming does not reduce productivity, study finds | Farming | The Guardian

[9] Projects of Landscape Recovery scheme announced - GOV.UK