This statistical bulletin presents estimates of changes in land use for England, and estimates of changes to urban uses for regions and counties.
In 1989, 30% of all changes were from a rural use to an urban use; 37% were from one urban use to another; and 31% were from one rural use to another. There was a net increase of about 5600 hectares in urban land at the expense of rural land. The largest net increase was in residential land (about 4400 hectares) and the largest decrease, of about 6100 hectares, was in agricultural land.
In 1989, 47% of land developed for urban uses was previously developed for urban uses. This includes land which had been left vacant following previous development. A further 8% of new urban development was on land in built-up areas which had not previously been developed. 35% of land developed for urban use was previously used for agriculture.
A further 10% was on undeveloped vacant land in built-up areas. About 40% of new residential development was on land previously used for agriculture. Preliminary results for 1991 confirm the increasing importance of recycled urban land for new residential development. Land previously developed for urban uses accounted for 44% of new residential development in 1991, compared with 38$ in 1985 and 40% in 1988.
The results also indicate that the proportion of residential development taking place on previously developed vacant land has increased from 12% to 19% between 1988 and 1991.
This increase may partly be an effect of the recent increased frequency of surveying, which makes it more likely that the previous use is recorded as vacant rather than the preceding developed use.