Skip to content

Land surface change data (FOI231140)

This Freedom of Information request asks for data on changes to the land surface area of the UK in recent decades.

Request for information - Ref No: FOI231140


Thank you for your email of 20 March 2023, requesting information from Ordnance Survey in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000, as set out in the extract below:

“I'm looking for data on changes to the land surface area of the UK in recent decades. Is there anything you can give me or point me to?”

Our response

We confirm that do not hold data on changes to the land surface area of the UK in recent decades.

We are therefore unable to process your request further.

Having said that, and to ensure there is no misunderstanding, we do hold information from which changes to land surface in Great Britain can potentially be derived. For example, we hold OS MasterMap Topography Layer, a large-scale vector dataset, introduced in 2001, which could potentially be used, together with earlier epochs of the same dataset or predecessor data, to identify changes to land use. However, to be able to derive land surface change data from the digital data that we hold would require a large volume of data processing and complex analysis, which requires a high degree of skill and judgement.

Under the duty to provide information and assistance in accordance with section 16 of FOIA, please note that you can view Land use change statistics here: Land use change statistics - GOV.UK (

Internal review

Your enquiry has been processed according to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000. If you are unhappy with our response, you may request an internal review with our Internal Review Officer by contacting them, within two months of receipt of our final response to your Freedom of Information (FOI) request, as follows:

Internal Review Officer
Customer Service Centre
Ordnance Survey
Adanac Drive
SO16 0AS

Contact us via our FoI form

Please include the reference number above. You may request an internal review where you believe Ordnance Survey has:

  • Failed to respond to your request within the time limits (normally 20 working days)
  • Failed to tell you whether or not we hold the information
  • Failed to provide the information you have requested
  • Failed to explain the reasons for refusing a request
  • Failed to correctly apply an exemption or exception

The Internal Review Officer will not have been involved in the original decision. They will conduct an independent internal review and will inform you of the outcome of the review normally within 20 working days, but exceptionally within 40 working days, in line with the Information Commissioner’s guidance.

The Internal Review Officer will either: uphold the original decision, provide an additional explanation of the exemption/s applied or release further information, if it is considered appropriate to do so.

Appeal to Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)
If, following the outcome of the internal review you remain unhappy with our response, you may raise an appeal, within three months of receiving our response, with the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Further information can be found on the ICO website ( under ‘Report a concern’ or you may wish to call the ICO helpline on 0303 123 1113.