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climate change planning

Coalition calls for climate change to be put at heart of planning system

7 October 2009

A new campaign is being launched in Parliament today (Tuesday 27 October 2009) to persuade the Government to put climate change at the heart of the English planning system.

A cross-sector coalition of organisations - including leading planners and countryside and environmental organisations - has drawn up draft planning guidance which would transform the system's ability to meet the challenge of tackling climate change.

The draft guidance will be unveiled to MPs at a launch in Westminster today, which will be addressed by Housing Minister John Healey.

The coalition, which has been brought together by Friends of the Earth and the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA), has made detailed suggestions for improving the planning process by making it fairer and ensuring that it plays its part in slashing carbon emissions and meeting the targets set out in the Climate Change Act. Proposals include:
• Setting renewable energy targets for local councils;
• A duty on local authorities to map out green energy opportunities in their
area that would enable them to meet their targets - especially potential community-based schemes;
• The establishment of a technical body to monitor progress;
• Setting up an education programme on climate change for councillors and

Speaking on behalf of the coalition Dr Hugh Ellis said:

"Words like innovation, risk taking and inspirational leadership are not normally what we get from planners - we need effective strategic action where we all take responsibility for reducing emissions.

"Justice and sustainable development have to be at the heart of the system. It's not about mindless deregulation, it's about putting the planning system to work to save our communities."

Friends of the Earth's Executive Director Andy Atkins said:
"The planning system must play a key part in UK efforts to meet its targets for tackling climate change.

"New guidance is desperately needed to boost green development and prevent carbon-hungry projects from being approved.

"Local councils have a major role to play in ensuring UK emissions reductions are met - the Government must ensure that local councils get serious about CO2."

TCPA Energy Policy Manager Kate Henderson said:

"The planning system can play a key part in tackling climate change by ensuring we get the right amount of renewable energy, by encouraging carbon zero development and by shaping development which reduces the need to travel by car.

"But despite some excellent rhetoric, much of the planning system is still locked in the age of stupid. It allows carbon intensive development and often refuses real solutions to climate change such as renewable energy projects."

The Government has already accepted that the system needs to be improved to enable UK climate targets to be met.