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Map for England launched!

13 March 2012

Why do we need a Map for England?

Despite the generally recognised and accepted need to ensure a joined up approach to planning infrastructure and services, there is remarkably still no single place or data source within government that makes all of these maps available to view.

Good progress has been made in various areas but with an overarching framework - 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. It would also increase consistency in appraisal, improve security and resilience, and provide a better understanding of sectoral issues that might complement or conflict with each other.

Listen to our podcast on why we need a map for England.

Additional benefits of a Map for England include:

  • Helping to boost growth.  Housing, industry and business would be able to make quicker and better informed investment decisions which are more closely aligned to public sector infrastructure funding plans.
  • Being much more transparent.  Local communities would be able to find out about how government plans affect their areas and to influence them. 
  • Saving time and money. When writing new strategies, government departments could see the existing plans for different parts of the country and relate their new strategies to them. Datasets drive innovation.
  • Helping to coordinate infrastructure across borders with Scotland and Wales. 

Research findings

We commissioned a study from the University of Manchester examining a broad range of existing government policies and how they relate to each other. See the study (pdf, 17.7 MB) and a compendium of policies in map form  (pdf, 9.7 MB).

To reach their conclusions, the researchers examined government web sites, individual policy documents and large numbers of reports to find policies and programmes that have strong 'spatial' aspect to them: policies which potentially have a different impact in different parts of the country. It was a major task in itself to pull together almost 100 policy maps.

In about one third of these documents the implications for different places are made explicit but in fully two thirds they are not. 

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.

We want your views

We want to start a debate on whether there should be a Map for England.  We want you to help us consider the following questions:

  1. Do you agree that government should bring together these plans in single place?
  2. What would the benefits of this approach be to your organisation and what mapping information should be included as part of the Map for England?
  3. What are the key policy areas that should be included in a Map for England?
  4. How best and in what format should this information be published?
  5. Have we missed anything?

Email your response to

Throughout the rest of 2012 we will be holding various events to stimulate a debate on the Map for England. 

Join the debate on Twitter @rtpiplanners or #map4england 

Read our news release.

Read the summary document.