The UK Government must cut the nation’s excessive land usage to lessen the impact on communities and the environment around the world.
The call from Friends of the Earth comes as its new report claims the UK uses more than one and a half times its land size to provide the country with products such as food, clothing and biofuels.
It also found UK imports use more than its surface area in agricultural goods every year, which adds to the pressure on land around the world. The environmental group claims this leads to increased food prices and social impacts such as “land-grabbing”. Biofuel production has been identified as the “largest driver” of land grabbing in the global south in recent times.
Land footprint is the land consumed domestically plus land used to produce imported products minus the land which is used for producing products that are exported.
The environmental group claims it is essential to “drastically decrease” Europe’s overall consumption and trade policies need to be modified to ensure socially and environmentally responsible use and trade of land.
Dr Michael Warhurst, Senior Resource Use Campaigner said: “Land is one of the world’s most under-appreciated resources – from food and clothes to smartphones and tablets, everything we buy is grown on or contains parts taken from the land. The UK’s land-guzzling footprint is like eating a three-course meal when you only need a snack – it’s excessive and we’re depriving some of the world’s poorest communities of their fair share. The products we consume in Britain directly contribute to water shortages, forest destruction and people losing their land.”
The report suggests an effective system for measuring the use of land in Europe is necessary in order to estimate its potential negative impact on climate and biodiversity.