Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Project List

Effects of golf course development on grade 1, 2 and 3a agricultural land in England. - LE0205

The overall aim of this study will be to determine the effects of golf course development on agricultural land (ALC grades 1, 2 and 3A) in England. The study will be composed of 6 specific objectives outlined as follows, together with ways in which they might be achieved: 1. and 2. Quantification of the agricultural land area (by ALC grade) affected by golf course permissions between 1/1/1988 and 31/12/1993 and to assess the proportion of permissions developed and completed. Planning applications will be analysed for a range of attributes and results will be mapped on a regional basis. Sites for field assessment will be selected that reflect a range of geographical areas, soil types, golf course types, ownership and management; 3. Quantification (by visual assessment of selected sites) of the impact of golf course development in terms of the proportion used for hard development, the proportion that is readily reversible to agriculture and assessment of the effects of development on the agricultural quality of reversible land. Field inspections will determine the proportion of land lost to irreversible development (car parks, roads, buildings, etc.). Parts of golf course developments suitable for agricultural use without modification or with simple restoration will be categorised in groups reflecting levels of ground disturbance. Representative observations will be made on undisturbed areas in order to identify the preworking physical characteristics of soils and therefore highlight the degree of disturbance caused by golf course construction; 4. Provision of documentation describing common design and construction practices and differences between practices in terms of their relative effects on agricultural land quality, together with advice on requirements and modifications necessary to safeguard reversibility to previous ALC grades; 5. Highlighting of shortcomings in planning procedures (such as nature of conditions and enforcement) which lead to long term damage of farmland by golf course development, together with recommendations for overcoming these deficiencies. The range and quality of advice given to golf course applicants by various authorities will be reviewed and planning procedures will be examined by conducting interviews with planning officers. Applicants will be consulted to gain their views on present planning procedures and on perceived major shortcomings of these procedures; and 6. Evaluation of the need for more detailed soil studies to assess the effect of golf course development on site physical characteristics and if appropriate, preparation of a blueprint for further research. Findings from site visits will be the main information source used to identify the type and scope of any further research that is required.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 1994

To: 1995

Cost: £24,681
Contractor / Funded Organisations
RPS Clouston
Fields of Study
Soil Protection