Land Evaluation & Classification

As pressure on Local Planning Authorities to identify land for housing and commercial use has increased, the need for analytical reports to help in the assessment of each individual case has also grown. In particular, three main areas may require an assessment to support a planning application:

  • Agricultural Land Classification
  • Environment Impact Assessment
  • Agricultural Impact Assessment

With a strong background in agriculture and environmental management, as well as being highly experienced in Planning and Development, we are in an excellent position at Landscope, to be able to help landowners and developers to make presentations to Local Planning Authorities in these areas.

What are ALC/EIA and AIA?

Agricultural Land Classification (ALC) provides a way of assessing the quality of farmland to enable Local Planning Authorities to make informed decisions about its future use within the planning system. The Government states that Best and Most Versatile land (BMV) is to be protected as a ‘strategic resource’; that is Grades 1, 2 and 3a quality. When development opportunities are assessed, it is often necessary to identify what is and what is not BMV, by undertaking an ALC survey and to assess the potential loss of agricultural land. More large scale development sites and some renewable energy projects will require ALC surveys.

The aim of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is to protect the environment by ensuring that where development permission is granted, it is done so in the full knowledge of any likely significant effects on the environment and where possible, damage is avoided or limited. EIA is a compulsory requirement for certain larger scale developments including major residential and commercial schemes, new roads, rail routes, mineral proposals port and infrastructure plans as well as some forms of intensive livestock and agricultural developments. An Environmental Statement (ES) is normally prepared highlighting all the impacts of the development, their mitigation and any losses.


In assessing ALC and/or EIA, the impact on soil, farming operations and rural businesses can be incorporated into the Environmental Statement summarising Farming Circumstance, Soils, Land Use and Agricultural Impacts. This constitutes an Agricultural Impact Assessment.