The Landscape Institute has warned that proposed cuts to the Northern Ireland Planning Service could leave us ill-prepared to adapt to climate change.
“The Climate Change Act 2008 requires the Executive to lay programmes before the Assembly on adaptation to climate change, involving flood management, urban drainage, coastal management, grey water recycling and appropriate designs for urban public spaces,” said Landscape Institute Chief Executive Alastair McCapra. “Without the expertise of the landscape architects in the Planning Service, how can this be done?’
He continued: “The Northern Ireland Executive also has firm obligations under the European Landscape Convention including a responsibility to implement policies on the protection, management and creation of landscape. If the Planning Service loses the expertise of its own landscape architects, it is difficult to see how it will meet this obligation.
“Planning applications have dropped off and it is clear that public services will have to adapt to changing economic circumstances. It is vital, however, that Northern Ireland does not rapidly fall behind the rest of the UK and Europe in terms of climate change adaptation, the growth of green jobs, improvements in the built environment and the improvement of people’s quality of life.”