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  6. 'Map for England' project launched

'Map for England' project launched

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has launched a debate on the benefits of having a ‘Map for England’ to plan infrastructure and services and to enable decision makers at the local level to make more informed policy choices.

New research commissioned by the RTPI from Manchester University indicated that individual government departments now have more than 100 major maps for England relating to policies and programmes on the economy, transport, communications, housing and the environment.

However, none are available in one place or through a single data source and so can be difficult to find as they are scattered across websites and within departmental reports, the RTPI pointed out.

Analysis by the Centre for Urban Studies at Manchester University reveals that in fully two thirds of maps the implications for different places are not made explicit. By overlaying a number of these maps and diagrams together, the researchers demonstrated that some policies and programmes, when considered against each other in relation to different parts of the country, may have unintended consequences.

For example, the study revealed that there is considerable overlap between broad areas where housing growth is projected in the future and where there are the greatest environmental and policy constraints to growth. These constraints include the risk of flooding and expected future household water shortages.

RTPI president Colin Haylock said: “We believe that with a Map for England policy makers could make better judgments about how individual policy proposals interact with and affect development of the country as a whole.

“Such an initiative would also increase consistency in the appraisal of policy, improve security and resilience, and provide a better understanding of sectoral issues that might complement or conflict with each other.

“A Map for England offers the opportunity of a truly joined up approach to planning infrastructure and services, perhaps by way of a single portal. We are launching a debate on this proposal to see if others share our views and to ask what mapping information should be included.”

Stakeholders are being encouraged to send their views on five key questions about the initiative and can do so by going to

Those Interested in the debate can follow the discussion on the initiative on Twitter @rtpiplanners or #map4england.

Roger Milne

28 March 2012