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Strategies for assessing the impact of survey lags on the analysis and interpretation of Land Use Change Statistics



The Department of the Environment's Land Use Change Statistics (LUCS) represent a major new data series in the field of town and regional planning. They begin to fill a long-standing and, given the land management aims of planning, rather basic gap in the planning data record and have the potential to change the way in which we approach land-use studies and policy monitoring. LUCS data are derived from the process of updating Ordnance Survey mapping and, as a consequence, are recorded with a time lag between date of change and date of survey that varies according to survey regime and land-use type. In the analysis of LUCS data it is essential that an appropriate allowance is made for both the temporal and the spatial incidence of survey lags. In this paper we will discuss three approaches to reducing the impact of recording lags on particular types of substantive research: use of LUCS data based on analysis by survey year, the construction of robust indicators of land-use change, and the fitting of modelled lag descriptions. We conclude with a brief discussion of the implications for land-use theory in general.

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