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Climate change guide for planners launched

Words: Laura Edgar
Climate change / Shutterstock_86013754

The RTPI and the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) have produced a guide to help planners and politicians tackle climate change through the strategic use of policy and legislation.

The current iteration of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) contains policies on climate change but, say the organisations, delivery on the ground “remains slow”.

This, they explain, is largely because of a lack of practical advice and support for local councils on how to secure a radical reduction in carbon emissions.

Government has been “weak” on adaptation to climate change, particularly when it comes to addressing heat waves and rising sea levels.

Planning for Climate Change – a Guide for Local Authorities was launched today (16 May) by Caroline Lucas MP. It aims to provide an overview of policy and legislation that can be used to address climate change at the local level so English councils can overcome any barriers they face.

Victoria Hills, chief executive at the RTPI, said: “Planners have a leading role in joining up the dots, from housing and transport to flood risk mitigation and energy, to ensure that communities benefit from a holistic approach to tackling climate change. The guidelines will be a valuable resource and should prompt more concerted actions on this vital issue.”

Hugh Ellis, director of policy at the TCPA, added: ‘Climate change is remaking our society and the impacts will be severe and lasting. The opportunities for action could also be transformational in harnessing new energy and engineering technologies to make our communities safe over the long term.   

“A resilient and sustainable future is achievable, but only if we act now. This guide sends a powerful message to councils and planners that we can meet the climate challenge.”

Comments from the launch

The TCPA's director of policy Hugh Ellis told the audience at the launch of Planning for Clmate Change he is proud of the collaboration between the RTPI and the TCPA to make the guide. "It isn't a delusional guide. It offers real and practical advice. It will continue to be updated when future policy and legislation is published, including the NPPF."

Failure on the issue of climate change "is not an option", he continued. "There is an overwhelming economic case for taking action on climate change, there is an overwhelming practical case, and most importantly there is an overwhelming morale case."

Lord Deben, chair of the Committee on Climate Change, said: "Behind the guide is a determination by both the TCPA and the RTPI to lift the role of the planner and remind people that every decision now has to take climate change into account."

The RTPI's head of policy Richard Blyth said the UK Government "must demonstrate how the NPPF in England will help deliver the outcomes of Sustainable Development Goal 11". He also spoke about the "incredible" work being done by local authorities throughout the world in the fight against climate change.

Mary Creagh MP, chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, highighted the lack of government funding for councils wishing to tackle climate change. She said they need help to design cities which are good for people and good for the planet, but insisted that "with joined up national and local action we can build cities which are good for the environment".

Planning for Climate Change can be found on the RTPI website (pdf).

Image credit | Shutterstock