Soil Surveys, Environmental Assessment & Land Management

Land Research - Case Study

North-east Norwich Sustainable Urban Extension

LRA was commissioned by Blue Living (Norwich) to undertake an assessment of the impact on soils and agriculture of a proposed 400 ha+ Sustainable Urban Extension to the north-east of Norwich. Gathering of baseline data involved:

  • A desk study of soil and geological information and satellite imagery
  • Research into the different land ownerships and agricultural users, and acquiring information on any agro-environmental designations, such as environmental stewardship agreements
  • A semi-detailed auger survey of agricultural land quality and soil types across the application site with characterisation of the main soil types and land grades 

The baseline study showed that permeable loams passing downwards to less permeable heavy layers, and permeable soils over sand dominated the gently sloping ground. This produced agricultural land predominantly of ‘best and most versatile’ quality.  The land is in use for growing of wheat, barley, sugar beet, oilseed rape, potatoes and parsnips, mainly managed by two large agricultural businesses.


The baseline information gathered by LRA was used to assess the potential impacts of the development, propose mitigation measures and assess the residual impacts of a masterplan covering a 231 ha application area. The results of the impact assessment were incorporated into the ‘Soil Conditions, Groundwater and Contamination’ and ‘Socio-economic’ chapters of the Environmental Statement produced by Environmental Perspectives.

Most of the application area is now included as committed development and associated public open space in Broadland District Council’s 2016 Area Action Plan.