Why are we doing this survey?

Much of the land surface of the south west is affected by human activity through urbanisation, agriculture, industry, resource extraction and leisure activities. Pressure on the land continues to increase at the same time as ongoing and challenging climate and environmental changes.

The Tellus South West survey will provide new evidence on resources, environmental change and natural hazards, to inform policy, decisions and regulation of development in the region.

It is important to protect the south west’s natural habitats and water resources.
Groundwater use in the UK.
Rock fall at Pennington Point. (Photo: © Eve Mathews)

The data gathered will be used to generate data products that can be used for the benefit of both public and private sectors, as well as development in the resource and environmental sectors. It will also be a major resource for industry, regulatory authorities and researchers.

In the past few years, the mining industry has begun to regenerate in the south west with the opening of a tungsten mine near Plymouth and a china clay pit in St Austell. Our data will inform further assessment of resources and opportunities for minerals development with the associated benefits for the local economy and employment.

Environmental hazard modelling

Vulnerabilities and risks arising from flash floods, landslides and natural and industrial legacy development means resilience to environmental change for the region is of paramount importance.

New information is required to help us understand and model the impacts of climate change, urban and rural development and resource exploitation on these significant environmental hazards.

Specific resource and environmental issues for the south west include diverse low carbon energy opportunities, such as deep geothermal energy; a long and diverse coastline prone to landslides; settlements and transport routes confined to deep valleys that are prone to flooding, and surface and groundwater quality issues arising from geogenic and industrial legacy heavy metals.

Derived datasets can also be used to support government policy decisions in economic and sustainable development, social infrastructure, environment and human health.

Where can I get more information?