Agricultural Land Classification
Agricultural Land Classification (ALC) surveys have been undertaken by Soil Environment Services across the UK on a regular basis for over 25 years on development sites ranging from less than a hectare to hundreds of hectares.
Typical development sites are for housing, solar farms, roads, or mineral extraction.
ALC Survey – Agricultural Land Classification (England and Wales)
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, 1988, MAFF, London.
The classification includes a review of previous soil 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:
- A map of the field survey observation point (pit or auger boring) locations and the ALC Grades.
- Appendices with the field survey data.
- Justification of the grading with details of the most limiting factor or factors.
- A table of the areas and their grades.
LCCA Land Capability Classification for Agriculture (Scotland)
Soil Environment Services undertake LCCA soil 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 Sates 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 soil 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.