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Planning system vital to reach new carbon target levels

02 December 2008

Strategic use of the planning system is vital if the Government wants to achieve its carbon emissions targets, says the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). The Institute, voice of 22,000 planners, supports setting a trajectory towards an 80 % reduction in carbon emissions against 1990 levels by 2050, and the newly announced interim target of a 34 % reduction by 2020. But these targets will not be reached without good planning.

RTPI Policy Director Rynd Smith said; \"The Climate Change Committee appears to have a misguided view that planning is a barrier to the achievement of carbon reductions. The reality is that spatial planning policies and decisions are or can be developed as an essential means to dramatically reduce the carbon impacts of future development. Smart policies and decisions are needed to ensure that the challenging 2050 target is met.\"

The Planning Act 2008 has provided the Government with the means to develop new planning policies and proposals for major infrastructure. Moving forward, the RTPI strongly urges the Government to ensure proposals, from new nuclear power stations, via new renewable energy development to carbon capture and storage are all well sited, smartly designed and deliver a positive balance of social, economic and environmental benefit. Good planning will help deliver the integrated outcomes and ensure ongoing community support for proposals necessary to achieve the target.

The RTPI is now looking to the Committee to demonstrate how these new tools will be used to achieve carbon benefit. The CCC will need to work with planners to improve the planning system to ensure that it incorporates the best approaches to important issues from carbon costing, capture and reduction, to climate change mitigation.