Launched in Parliament on Wednesday, Planning for climate change – guidance for local authorities, developed by the Climate Change Coalition, of which the LI is a member organisation, is designed to respond to the agenda set by the Localism Act and the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
It is aimed primarily at local authorities, private sector practitioners, Local Enterprise Partnerships and Local Nature Partnerships that want both to tackle climate change and to reap the positive economic benefits that solutions such as renewable energy, sustainable transport and building flood resilience can bring.
Speaking at the launch, Bob Neill MP, Under Secretary of State at the Department of Communities and Local Government, said allowing people to make green policy decisions in their local communities would help boost public interest in climate change.
“To get people to buy into sustainability, they need to be given some control in their own communities,” he said. Neill added that local authorities needed to be pro-active in promoting sustainability and renewable energy as part of the UK government’s effort to substantially reduce carbon emissions by 2050.
Joan Walley MP, chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, challenged local authorities to help create greener, more sustainable communities by following the climate change plan’s guidelines.
She said: “The one thing that is really missing is informed public debate on how we go about implementing the targets of the Climate Change Act, given the small amount of time we have to make this transition to a zero carbon economy.”
Walley added that local authorities needed to work together to raise awareness of climate change and to introduce environmental initiatives nationwide.
Naomi Luhde-Thompson, planning co-ordinator at Friends of the Earth, believed investing in the green economy, which employs about 900,000 UK workers, would support a growing industry while helping improve the environment.
“Everyone is looking at the green economy and there is an opportunity for the UK to be a leader,” she said. “We need developers and businesses to get behind this agenda.”
The guidance updates the Planning and Climate Change Coalition guide published in 2010, which itself was based on the draft Planning Policy Statement (PPS) on climate and energy, Planning for a Low Carbon Future in a Changing Climate, published in March 2010.
The Coalition represents over 35 cross-sector organisations, including the LI, and is led by the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) and Friends of the Earth. For more information, go to wwwtcpa.org.uk/pages/climate-coalition.html