Publication

Reports 2019-15

Agricultural land converted to built-up areas for agricultural production

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In a project taken on by Statistics Norway and the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, 9 760 hectares of agricultural land were calculated to be converted to other uses in the period 2004-2015. Of which 22 per cent were areas classified as “Built-up areas for agriculture”. Mainly, these areas are what we may call built-up areas for agricultural production. Conversion of agricultural land to built-up land where the object is agricultural production (Agricultural Act § 9) does not need an approval from the authorities. Examples are agricultural buildings, farmhouses and farm roads.

In this project, Statistics Norway has analysed conversion of agricultural land to built-up areas on agricultural properties, with a special focus on conversions that are related to agricultural production.

Looking only at agricultural properties, a total of 4 780 hectares of agricultural land were converted to other uses in the period 2004-2015. This means that 49 per cent of the total converted agricultural land were on agricultural properties. The remaining areas were on properties smaller than 0.5 hectares agricultural land and 2.5 hectares forest area, or on small properties partition of agricultural properties. These may be development areas for dwellings, industry, roads etc. Built-up areas can be divided into its purpose. The largest part was classified as “Built-up areas for agriculture”, which came to 39 per cent. Further, “Roads and railways” amounted to 21 per cent, “Green areas and sport facilities” to 12 per cent, “Industrial areas” to 11 per cent, “Residential areas” to 8 per cent, “Recreational areas” to 2 per cent and finally “Other built-up areas” to 8 per cent.

Built-up areas for agricultural production are mainly connected to areas classified as “Built-up areas for agriculture”. Farm roads are by rule classified as “Roads and railways” but should be accounted as part of built-up areas for agricultural production. It is not possible to sort out these roads without a considerable analysis that is outside the framework of this project. These figures are therefore not included. Former agricultural land, now classified as “Built-up areas for agriculture” constituted to 1 860 hectares, and may be grouped by:

  1. Built-up areas with buildings (1 130 hectares) – these are the building’s basal area, plus a work up area around the building
  2. Built-up areas without buildings (720 hectares) – these are mainly farmyards which have been expanded over former agricultural land to lawn, parking area, storage yard or other work up areas

Of all buildings placed partly, or fully, on former agricultural land, 63 per cent were classified as “Built-up areas for agricultural”. This corresponds to 15 725 buildings, of which agricultural buildings amounted to 68 per cent. Farmhouses and garages formed 21 per cent.

On agricultural properties, there are also built-up areas that are classified as others than “Built-up areas for agriculture”, like residential areas, sports facilities, industry etc. An evaluation has been made for these areas according to purposes that may be part of agricultural production. The evaluation concluded that some of the storehouses classified as other than “Built-up areas for agriculture”, corresponding to 29 hectares, were probably built for agricultural production. In 2004-2015, the total agricultural land converted to built-up areas for agricultural production was concluded to be 1 887 hectares. This figure is a minimum since farm roads and greenhouses with a hard surface are not included.

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