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Land Use

With on average 117.5 people living on each of the EU's 3 million square kilometres, it is easy to see why land use planning and management is such an important environmental issue for the Union. The way we use our land space can have major impacts on environmental conditions. These can be direct, such as the destruction of natural habitats and landscapes, or indirect, such as increasing the amount of traffic on our roads leading to more congestion, air pollution and greenhouse gases. Land use planning and management decisions are usually made at local or regional level. However, the European Commission has a role to play in ensuring Member States take environmental concerns into account when putting together their land use development plans. The Commission has four major goals in this area: