The Town and Country Planning Association has endorsed housing minister John Healey’s new planning policies and building regulations that aim to tackle climate change
Healey’s triple announcement includes updated planning rules, £10 million funding to improve local ‘green skills’ and the backing of further progress in the ‘second wave’ of the Eco-towns programme.
The three new Planning Policy Statements – Planning for a Low-Carbon Future in a Changing Climate, Planning for a Natural and Healthy Environment and Development and Coastal Change – will serve as a ‘green planning rulebook’ for councils, so that new sustainable developments are built with the aim of reducing carbon emissions and driving the climate change agenda forward.
Councils will also receive a £10 million grant to make them “green champions” and update the tools and know-how to develop sustainable housing and energy sources for their respective areas.
Healey also confirmed that two more councils have been added to the ‘second wave’ Eco-towns programme. East Devon District and Fareham Borough Councils have expressed an interest in using Eco-town standards for new settlements in their areas.
Healey said: “This signals real and radical momentum to change and to re-think how we design our towns and homes for the future.
“The tougher, better guidelines for planning give councils a new blueprint, reflecting the latest targets and ensuring councils put combating climate change at the heart of future development.”
The new standards will see two million tonnes of carbon saved every year by 2020, equivalent to taking more than three million cars off the road. The measures include practical steps to make buildings greener, ensuring that more efficient, air-tight homes and offices are also sufficiently ventilated.
TCPA chief planner, Dr Hugh Ellis, said: “This is an historic moment. Planning can, and must, address the critical need to reshape our society and economy into a positive low-carbon future. In the aftermath of the failure of Copenhagen, it is now crucial that we drive transformational change by empowering communities to deal with their energy needs. This policy is one the most dramatic and significant steps forward in the development of spatial planning.”