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Land Use

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 6 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills whether the Foresight Land Use Futures project will review (a) Green Belt protection, (b) other land use designations and (c) rural re-rating. (203134)

The Foresight Land Use Futures project will take a long-term (25 to 50 years), system-wide view, to explore how our use of land may need to evolve to meet future challenges and how it can deliver economic, social and environmental benefits sustainably.

By combining the most up to date scientific evidence with well-informed exploratory futures work it will assist policymakers in developing robust and resilient strategies, policies and priorities.

The project was announced by Professor John Beddington earlier this month and its detailed scope will be confirmed in June. It is a futures project and, as such, will not scrutinise specific existing policies or immediate policy questions. It will focus on developing an understanding of land use systems, the factors that may drive future changes and the opportunities and risks associated with those futures.

Further information as and when it becomes available will be posted at

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what (a) processes and (b) criteria will be used to select the (i) high level stakeholder group and (ii) expert advisory group for the Foresight Land Use Futures project. (203135)

The information requested is as follows:

(i) Foresight Land Use Futures high level stakeholder group

The Foresight Land Use Futures project covers a wide range of issues. The process for selecting members for the high level stakeholder group has included consideration of the issues and range of interests potentially involved, consultation with the sponsoring Departments, DEFRA and CLG, consultation with expert and professional communities and UK Research Councils. The criteria were designed to ensure a balance of interests such as rural and urban, environmental and commercial, public and private sector. Details of membership will be posted on the website in due course.

There are a large number of other organisations who will contribute to and be communicated with on a regular basis as a wider stakeholder community for the project

(ii) Foresight Land Use Futures lead expert group

Foresight projects draw upon a large network of leading experts in the UK and internationally, from a wide range of scientific and other disciplines, in order to ensure that the work is of the highest technical and scientific standard. A small lead expert group, will work closely with the Foresight team throughout the life of the project to steer the technical work and contribute to the analysis. Members of the lead expert group demonstrate high academic standing in the relevant discipline areas and have capacity to commit up to four days per month to the project. Experience of bringing academic evidence to bear on public policy is also desirable.

The lead expert group for this project has not yet been constituted. The Government's Chief Scientific Adviser will invite individuals to join this group once the formal project scope has been confirmed by the high level stakeholder group and the key disciplines agreed. Again, the membership of the group will be posted on the website.