How is land usage changing in the UK? Is the amount of built-up areas increasing?

To answer these questions I used a dataset from the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH) which classifies each 25m square into one of 6 land cover classes. The data is from 1990 and 2015, and by looking at the aggregate change between pairs of classes, we can see what the net change is for each class over this 25 year period.

Woodland has increased (by over 20%), but grassland has decreased (by 6%). The combined total woodland, arable, and grassland has decreased, at the expense of built-up areas, which have increased by 3,384 km2: an increase of almost 25%. Still, built-up areas account for 7.2% of the total area of the UK.

Visualization type: Sankey diagram, alluvial diagram

Data source: Land Cover Change 1990-2015 (LCC1990_2015) from the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (free to download, but registration required), TIFF, 6.8 GB

Technical notes: preprocessing in Python with Rasterio, charting with Flourish; code, Flourish chart

See also: A map showing the change in land cover from UKCEH. There is a download on that page with a larger PDF map.