UK planning systems neglecting rights of children

A new report has argued that planning systems in the UK are failing to consider the rights and needs of children, leading to detrimental effects on their well-being.

The report, Child Friendly Planning in the UK - A Review, showcases that there has been a ‘drastic reduction’ in the use of outdoor spaces by children over the past 50 years, as national policy has increasingly focused on economics rather than people.

Commissioned by the Royal Town Planning Institute, the paper calls for a more rights-based approach to future planning policies, which would include children in decision-making processes. It also argues that little consideration is being given to the fact outdoor play is fundamental to children’s well-being and long-term development, as well as improving community cohesion, in UK planning policies.

The RTPI points to a consistent and growing body of evidence showing that, although parks, playgrounds and skateparks have arisen over time, these adult creations do not necessarily chime with the self-reported spatial needs and understandings of children. It also says that, although the overall picture was bleak, there were notable and commendable practices occur

Aude Bicquelet-Lock, deputy head of policy and research at the RTPI, said: “If we are honest and serious about building inclusive and diverse communities, we have to take into account children’s needs and rights. Planning systems across the UK have obligations to meet these needs through both UK government commitments to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), as well as Equalities and child-specific legislation.”