JUST three percent of South Ayrshire has been built upon, it has been revealed. 

A report - published by the BBC - shows the levels of built up areas, farmland, parkland and ‘natural’ land. 

Three percent of South Ayrshire is built on - half the UK figure of six percent.

Acknowledging the long standing farming tradition, it reports that 44 percent of South Ayrshire is made up of farmland. While this is double the farmland coverage in Scotland (26.4 percent), it lags far behind the UK average of 57 percent. England itself has around 72 percent farmland coverage. 

Most of the farmland can be found in the north and west of the county. 
Natural land - such as moors, heathland and natural grasslands - is more prevalent than the UK national average - sitting at just over half of all South Ayrshire, compared to 35 percent in the UK as a whole. However, it is less than the Scottish level of 70.2 percent.

At two percent Green urban space like parks, sports facilities and golf courses are slightly below the UK’s three percent. This is higher than Scotland as a whole, which has just under one percent used in this way. 

Scotland has significantly more natural land than the other home nations - largely due to the proliferation of land unsuitable for agriculture throughout the highlands and islands.

Neighbouring North Ayrshire has double the percentage of built on land than in South Ayrshire.

It also has a greater percentage of park and leisure land. However, it has a greater proportion of undeveloped natural land (60 percent) and less agricultural land (32 percent).

The four categories are derived from a more detailed report across 44 different land use ‘codes’.

This shows that just over five percent of South Ayrshire is made up of peat bogs, almsot 20 percent features coniferous woods, 0.6 percent is industrially developed and 0.9 percent is used for sports.

The local authorities with the highest proportion of farmland are the Isles of Scilly (96 percent) and Mid Suffolk (95percent ). The council area with the greatest quantity of “natural” landscape is Highland (91 percent). The City of London has the highest amount of land that is built on (98 percent) and the local authority with the greatest proportion of green urban is Richmond upon Thames (58 percent).

The data  was produce by the BBC with the help of Dr Alasdair Rae from the Urban Studies and Planning Department at the University of Sheffield. All the original local authority data and maps are available in A Land Cover Atlas of the United Kingdom.