Land Journal June–July 2018
Land Journal June–July 2018

Mike Swain

Editor, Land Journal (RICS)

Ash dieback disease hit the headlines in 2012 with predictions of devastation, but then seemed to be forgotten. Yet in the intervening years it has continued to spread and is now threatening millions of trees across the UK.


This issue of Land Journal contains a stark report from John Lockhart on the extent of the damage facing the country. It is predicted that fewer than 5% of ash trees will survive, leading to noticeable changes in the landscape.

Action is being taken to deal with stricken trees, with which RICS is involved, but the cost will be great and tend to fall on local authorities. Dieback is on course to spread to all areas and affect many different surveying disciplines, so John’s timely article gives a thorough appraisal of current operations.

Elsewhere in this issue, Rosemarie Andrews offers her view on how we should be making more of the latest digital models to open up the planning permission process, instead of relying on the untrained and often amateurish approach of local councillors.

Why not use the tools we have available to help both developers and residents? In my earlier career I spent many hours sitting in planning committees, and often found myself marvelling at some of the unpredictable decisions they made. In a separate article, Penny Norton also argues for greater use of digital tools and data in the related process of planning consultations.

Meanwhile, recent headlines on the environment have concentrated on plastic pollution – but, as Paul Leinster and Leon Terry argue in their article, there are other equally important issues for the government’s 25-year environment plan to tackle, such as natural capital value.

The largest single environmental threat to human health in fact comes from air pollution, so in his article, EarthSense Managing Director Tom Hall sets out the effects on our lives and the monitoring being done to identify the hotspots of dirty air across the country.

I hope you find this issue topical and enjoyable.

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