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World Environment Day on The Planner

Words: The Planner
Red squirrel

Today (5 June) is World Environment Day. Here's a round-up of environment-related content from The Planner over the past year or two that reflects this year's theme of Reimagine, Recreate, Restore

Anyone who reads The Planner regularly knows that we give a lot of space to the impact that planning has on the environment and how planning can contribute to society's efforts to prevent environmental damage and loss, restore biodiversity, tackle climate change and integrate people and the natural environment in ways that are healthy to both.

Over the past couple of years we've been paying more and more attention to these themes. And, with COP26 approaching, we're aware that the urgency of tackling our environmental crises is increasing. There's no more time to waste; and we believe that planning has a critical part to play.

So here's a small selection of the news reports, news items, opinion pieces, interviews and features from The Planner that have looked at the multiple ways in which planning interacts with the environment and which consider how planning can be used as a tool to address the environmental crisis that is unfolding before us. you can read the full range of our environment related stories here

Special report

Planning for nature's recovery - April 2021
In 2019, the State of Nature report – based on a collaboration between conservation and research organisations across the UK – found that 41 per cent of UK species had declined since 1970.

Butterflies and moths had suffered a 17 per cent and 25 per cent decline respectively, with 26 per cent of mammal species now at risk of disappearing altogether.

Worse still, 97 per cent of wild-flower meadows have been lost since the Second World War, with up to 90 per cent of lowland ponds having disappeared over the past century... [More]

News stories

Biodiversity must be studied early in the planning process - May 2021
Biodiversity should be considered at the earliest stages of planning for residential development in order to encourage wildlife to live there and help to reverse habitat decline, according to a guide published last week (27 April)...

UK's native woodlands in 'poor' ecological condition - April 2021
Native woodlands in the UK are ‘isolated and in poor ecological condition’, with just 7 per cent in good ecological condition, according to a report by the Woodland Trust...

Nature recovery should be in plans to 'grow back better' from the pandemic - February 2021
The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has stated that it is ‘vital’ that the recovery of nature is prioritised in the UK's economic recovery efforts alongside action on climate change to grow back better from the Covid-19 pandemic...

Approach to economics must change to reverse biodiversity loss, warns review - February 2021
An independent review into the economics of biodiversity has concluded that there needs to be a fundamental change in the approach to economics if biodiversity loss is to be reversed and prosperity enhanced...

Personal views & opinions

We know how precious our environment is, so why are we delaying protections? - March 2021
The Dasgupta Review, The Economics of Biodiversity, opens with the line that “Our economies, livelihoods and wellbeing all depend on our most precious asset: nature.” This statement's importance cannot be underestimated, and governments around the world must act upon it with more than supportive words – the health of the natural world, and with it our economy, depends on supportive policy... [More]


Planning is the foundation for a low-carbon future - February 2021
The energy white paper is to be commended for committing to a transition to a zero-carbon future, but it seems to have forgotten about planning, observes Rob Shaw...

Brexit could weaken the role of planners as stewards of the environment - November 2020
Weakening of proposed post-Brexit planning legislation, along with general deregulation of the planning system, presents a serious threat to the role of planners as stewards of the environment, argues Kierra Box...

Legal insights

Have these two judgments on our airways cleared the air? - December 2020
Two highly significant legal determinations relating to our airways were made last week. Claire Petricca-Riding offers her first thoughts on the impact of the Heathrow judgement and the coroner's verdict in the case relating to Ella Kissi-Debrah...

From victim to asset? Valuing green - August 2020
The value and potential of green space and environmental improvement have been poorly understood within the planning system. Changes are afoot, but what sort of impact will they have? Keith Lancaster and Anita Kasseean take a look...

Will biodiversity net gain become a new battleground for planners? - June 2020
The introduction of biodiversity net gain requirements will have wide ramifications for plan making and decision taking. Constanze Bell and Jonathan Easton outline the key challenges and dilemmas facing planners...

Case studies

Helping birds and industry to co-exist in the Humber Estuary - July 2020
A large-scale conservation strategy in north-east England shows how endangered bird species can be given vital space alongside new industrial development. Matt Moody finds out about the RTPI award-winning Humber Estuary Mitigation Strategy.

One of many challenges local authorities face is balancing economic growth and development against the importance of safeguarding protected species and their habitats... [More]


Reducing HS2's environmental impact in the Colne Valley - May 2021
HS2 has been criticised for its environmental impacts. But at least one approach to limiting – and mitigating – harm has received a thumbs-up from environmentalists...

Rewilding in the UK - March 2021
Whether you call it rewilding, ecosystem or habitat restoration, the process of reinstating Britain’s land and seascapes to their natural state is a growing trend. Here are five of the best rewilding projects...


A wilder way: An interview with Rebecca Wrigley - March 2021
I’m a systems thinker,” Rebecca Wrigley declares. “My mind works in systems. I’m not an expert in anything. I’m not an ecologist. But I think there’s huge value in that because I need to understand things by understanding the bigger picture and therefore I can make connections.”

The word ‘system’ crops up a lot in conversation with Rewilding Britain’s founder and chief executive. She speaks of food production systems, natural systems, life support systems, regulatory systems, economic systems – and the planning system, of course.

Above all, she talks about ecosystems, upon which all other systems depend. “We’re part of that web of life, part of those ecosystems,” Wrigley stresses, the “amazing, wonderful complexity and dynamism” of a “naturally functioning ecosystem”... [More]

Stress test: An interview with Araceli Camargo - December 2019
Poorly planned environments pose serious risk to physical and mental health, says cognitive neuroscientist Araceli Camargo – and, as she tells Catherine Early, she has the evidence to prove it...

The global gardener: An interview with Jeremy Purseglove - September 2019
Jeremy Purseglove has spent a lifetime creating habitats that work for both people and nature. The environmentalist tells Simon Wicks how we urgently need to find a sustainable balance to pull the world back from the brink...


Eight steps to carbon-conscious planning - December 2020
Is a climate-adapted future more likely to resemble Futurama or The Good Life? Heather Claridge shares discoveries from research into ‘carbon-conscious places’ in Scotland.

What will Scotland look like in 2050 if we take a whole place approach to designing for a changing climate?

Will it be like Futurama, with technology leading the way towards carbon-free living? Or more like The Good Life, where self-sufficiency eliminates carbon-using activities?...[More]

Net effects: The path to net zero - June 2021
The path to net-zero is a revolutionary one and we are walking it, says Robert Shaw. If we stay the course, we’ll see transformations in technology, economy, living environments and the very way that we live our lives...

The case for space: Why planners need to focus on natural capital - January 2021
A growing body of evidence suggests that green space has tangible health and economic benefits. Economist Caroline Vexler explains why now is the time for planners to focus on the case for green space...

Lost worlds: Can planners protect nature from the drive for growth at all costs? - September 2019
By most measures, the environment and biodiversity are struggling in the face of a pro-growth agenda. Huw Morris considers a ‘lost decade’ for planning...

Coming up...

We'll be continuing with our environmentally-themed stories from month to month, but In September we'll be focusing an entire issue of The Planner on the forthcoming COP26 conference in Glasgow. To keep abreast of what we're doing you can:

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