The European Union's statistical office Eurostat have published the results of a large scale land survey showing the land use of 23 EU member states.
The Land Use/Cover Area frame Survey (LUCAS), conducted in 2009, records the physical cover of the land and its visible socio-economic use. It is the largest dataset of its kind in Europe and provides harmonised and comparable data across member states.
The UK has one of the lowest percentages of land covered by forestry and woodland with only 15%, compared to the EU average of 39%, but has one of the highest shares of grass and crop land cover - 62% of the total area compared to the average of 42% across the EU.
16% of land in the UK is used for residential, commercial and industrial purposes compared to 11% across the EU, while 66% of UK land used for agriculture, 9% for forestry and 10% attributed to 'hunting, fishing and no visible land use'.
The survey covers 23 EU members states. Data for Bulgaria and Romania is expected to be published later in 2010 and Malta and Cyprus were not covered by the survey for methodological reasons.
The Eurostat results are available from http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/cache/ITY_PUBLIC/5-04102010-BP/EN/5-04102010-BP-EN.PDF