New guidance to help councils tackle climate change

The Royal Town Planning Institute and Town and Country Planning Association have published new guidance on policy and legislation which can be used to address climate change at a local level, overcoming the barriers faced by many local authorities in England.

The two organisations argue that the current National Planning Policy Framework contains ‘ambitious policies on climate change’ but on-the-ground delivery remains slow, largely because of a lack of practical advice and support to local councils.

In addition to this, the Royal Town Planning Institute has also established new practice advice to encourage the proactive planning of renewable energy projects. As the UK’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions is expected to continue post-Brexit, renewable energy production is likely to remain a crucial part of the government's Industrial Strategy.

Examples such as Wales’s first large-scale battery storage scheme, Siemens offshore turbine manufacturing plant in Hull and Scotland’s marine plan, the paper argues that planning is vital in identifying suitable developments, empowering key stakeholders, and enabling local communities to deliver affordable renewable energy networks.

Victoria Hills, chief executive of 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 communities benefit from a holistic approach to tackling climate change. Today’s guidelines will be a valuable resource and should prompt more concerted efforts to tackle this vital issue.”

Robbie Calvert, RTPI policy and networks adviser, said: “The UK’s renewable energy industry is a success story that must continue after Brexit. Planning plays a key role in everything from the creation of transmission structures to strategic planning that links investment, employment opportunities and long-term capacity needs. Planners are indispensable to forming public sector networks, striking commercial partnerships and facilitating meaningful community involvement.”

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