I found this on the DEFRA website > Food and Farming > Land Use and Planning. The part i’ve highlighted in orange seems to say that the quality of agricultural land IS important in planning decision making. This is a good starting point! Do planning departments know this? This is very weak or non-existent in planning policy, locally and nationally.
Agricultural Land Classification (ALC)
Land quality varies from place to place. The Agricultural Land Classification (ALC) provides a method for assessing the quality of farmland to enable informed choices to be made about its future use within the planning system. It helps underpin the principles of sustainable development.
The publication Agricultural Land Classification of England and Wales – revised guidelines and criteria for grading the quality of agricultural landwas published in 1988 and includes a more detailed description of each of the grades and subgrades than the ALC leaflet available on the Natural England website (see link below).
NB The guidelines are out of print and only available as a downloadable pdf file.
- Information on soil types on the Natural England website
- ALC: revised guidelines and criteria for grading the quality of agricultural land (PDF) (2.5 MB)