The UK has lost green areas spanning almost two million acres due to urban expansion over the last 25 years – this is roughly as large as Suffolk and Sussex combined.
That’s one of the findings from a new satellite analysis conducted by the UK Centre of Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH), which calculated the overall gains and losses in land cover in the country between 1990 and 2015.
The research showed grasslands around the size of Dorset and farmland almost the size of Bedfordshire were concreted for the development of houses, roads and other infrastructure.
Kent, Essex and West Yorkshire were the top three counties which saw the highest urban increase, while Argyll & Bute, Sutherland and Inverness in Scotland gained the largest area of woodland.
Dr Clare Rowland of UKCEH, who led the analytical study, said: “This information on how land cover in Great Britain has altered is crucial for understanding the impact of these changes on our environment and helping us plan for the next 25 years.”