Land classification surveys are undertaken across the UK on a regular basis for development on single sites or across broad areas for strategic planning by local authorities or mineral extraction operators.
To assist in assessing land quality usually for development and planning purposes, the former Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) developed a method for classifying agricultural land by grade according to the extent to which its physical or chemical characteristics impose long-term limitations on agricultural use for food production. Agricultural Land Classification (ALC Survey) is undertaken strictly in accordance with:
- Agricultural Land Classification of England and Wales
Guidelines and criteria for grading the quality of agricultural land
(Revised guidelines 1988 and Draft second revision 1996, MAFF, London)
The detailed soil assessment needed for an ALC survey encompasses the themes set out in the UK first Soil Action Plan (see Defra Soil Action Plan).
The classification includes a review of previous surveys and site information followed by an in depth field examination of the soil carried out in accordance with current survey methods and guidance documents. Field assessment of the soil by our experienced soil survey consultants is essential.
Laboratory analysis may be required for soils from some sites. Flood risk information, if needed, is taken from Environment Agency records.
Reporting will include:
- Separate colour maps for soil types and ALC Grades.
- Appendices with all MET Office Agro-climatic data.
LCCA Land Capability Classification for Agriculture (Scotland)
We undertake LCCA surveys in Scotland also for development and planning purposes. The general survey and methodology is similar to the ALC system outlined above, however the classification is derived from the United States Department of Agriculture system and ultimately results in a greater number of land grades than the ALC system.
Again, the classification includes a review of previous surveys and site information followed by an in depth field examination of the soil carried out in accordance with current survey methods and guidance documents.
LCCF Land Capability Classification for Forestry
LCCF surveys have been undertaken by Soil Environment Services for developments in upland areas as this land classification system is an aid to decision-making at broad planning levels, as a guide for land managers and as a statement of the natural resources of the land of Britain in terms of forestry.
Unlike the land classifications systems for agriculture, LCCF includes an assessment of the windthrow hazard that may occur in an area. Due to the prevalence of planting in the hill areas of Britain where high wind speeds and soils producing shallow rooting are most likely to occur in combination, windthrow hazard is recognised as a limitation in this land classification.
Please contact us if you require this type of investigation.