Land take can be defined as the loss of undeveloped land to human-developed land. Concerning net land take, for the EC “no net land take” means that sealing agricultural land and open spaces should be avoided as far as possible and the focus should be on building on land that has already been sealed” (European Commission, 2016). It is used as a proxy indicator to account for the amount of soil being sealed by the increase of built-up areas due to urban expansion.
At present, no clear measurement of net land take has been developed and it may not deliver information on its actual impacts nor on its efficiency, considered in terms of employment or density of inhabitants, or soil sealing. Moreover, the definitions of land take and net land take provided at EU level do not frequently adhere with the ones adopted in the national and regional urban planning laws, thus generating a discrepancy between what is mapped at EU and national levels by the agencies in charge of these tasks and what is mapped by local and regional authorities for measuring land take.
There are difficulties in accurately measuring net land take and of sufficiently measuring the land taken (i.e. reflecting compensation mechanisms) in a way that is useful to support sustainable urban planning, and furthermore, the datasets provided by the EEA to map land take have a resolution which is not able to map changes at urban and neighbourhood levels. As such, there is a need to complement the net land take indicator by a set of other indicators (e.g. soil sealing; urban dispersion, etc.), which will support a better approach to identifying and understanding the expected environmental impacts from spatial planning.
This action aims to define a set of common indicators or a composite index of net land take that takes into account urban greening and re-naturalisation processes, as well as soil sealing / desealing at different spatial levels and with different resolutions. The intention is that this would provide a common reference indicator for MS and for EC in assessing the environmental impact of spatial plans and decisions and for setting reasonable targets for net land take.
On the one side, the action will review the land take indicators currently defined at EU and international levels and at the local level. On the other side, the possibility to map these indicators by using the datasets already available at EU level, which are the reference basis for all the Member States, will be explored. Many MS and regions use their own systems for mapping land take, but they are frequently based on datasets developed at European level. At the same time, municipalities and local administrations do not find proper datasets and mapping of specific phenomena within their territories in the existing national and even at regional level data sets (e.g. permeability of soils, heat island, etc.).
Moreover, this action will also explore whether the data collected by EEA responds to the identified need and, eventually, will aim to improve the way that data on the land take is collected and delivered.
The Partnership will discuss with the European Environment Agency and with the DG ENV on the development of an updated definition of net land take. This will be made possible since EAGLE 2015, the new classification system for land cover/land use, has revised the way land cover changes are classified and can open to more precise ways to define net land take.
The final phase will consist of selecting and then testing a common composite land take definition/ index on real case studies to assess its effectiveness and its applicability (e.g. partnership cities).
- Sustainable Use of Land and Nature-Based Solutions Partnership full Draft Action Plan
- Draft Action 1: INCLUDING LAND TAKE IN IMPACT ASSESSMENT PROCEDURES
- Draft Action 2: FINANCING MODELS FOR BROWNFIELD DEVELOPMENT
- Draft Action 3: IDENTIFYING AND MANAGING UNDER-USED LAND
- Draft Action 5: PROMOTING FUA COOPERATION AS A TOOL TO MITIGATE URBAN SPRAWL
- Draft Action 6: BETTER REGULATION TO BOOST NBS AT EUROPEAN, NATIONAL AND LOCAL LEVELS
- Draft Action 7.1: PREPARE AN NBS FUNDING GUIDE TO ASSIST CITIES IN ACCESSING FUNDING FOR NBS PROJECTS
- Draft Action 7.2: OVERCOMING THE BIAS FOR EXISTING SOLUTIONS THROUGH NBS FINANCIAL INCENTIVES MAINSTREAMING
- Draft Action 8: AWARENESS RAISING IN THE AREAS OF NBS AND SUSTAINABLE USE OF LAND (URBAN SPRAWL)
- Draft Action 9: AGREEING ON COMMON TARGETS AND INDICATORS FOR NATURE-BASED SOLUTIONS, URBAN GREEN STRUCTURE, BIODIVERSITY AND ECOSYSTEM SERVICES IN CITIES