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Victoria Hills: How planning encourages change

The challenges of planners for Biodiversity Net Get

In mid-April, the RTPI’s Head of Policy Richard Blyth and I met with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)to discuss Biodiversity Net Gain and how planners will support this important priority.

The conversation helped us to stress the importance of adequately resourcing planners in tackling this issue. However, it is clear to us the enhanced level of information and expertise that will be involved in the BNG process. We’ve made clear to DEFRA that we will be suggesting a proportionate and phased approach to BNG until we can be satisfied that sufficient resources will be available to deliver this important initiative at the local level.

Our full response to DEFRA Biodiversity Net Gain Regulations and Implementation consultation can be found on our website.

Coming together for the good of the built environment sector

Outside of the long Easter weekend, one key highlight for April was the coming together of key membership bodies in the built environment sector to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) focusing on Equality, Diversity, and Inclusivity (EDI).

Only by working together can we ensure the sector represents the society it serves, one as diverse as the communities we work for.

Spearheaded by the RTPI’s EDI Manager Machel Bogues, the MoU was the inspiring collaborative effort of the industry, bringing together the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), Landscape Institute (LI), Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), collectively representing around 350,000 members, to realise genuine change.

Only by working together can we ensure the sector represents the society it serves, one as diverse as the communities we work for.

Launching Planners Beyond Boundaries

The world is currently witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record. Back in early March, as we began to watch conflict in the Ukraine unfold, we highlighted the potential of the planning community to donate and help the people of Ukraine.

I personally began the long road to joining the Government’s sponsorship scheme, which has led me to a Ukrainian university student from Kharkiv. Thanks to the rapid response of our local government, she will soon be joining my family and me in our home.

As a wider organisation, however, the RTPI wanted to utilise its charitable status and international standing for a proportional and appropriate response. That’s why we’ve launched Planners Beyond Boundaries, to help individuals impacted by displacement, particularly professional planners and related urban and development professionals who work in the arena of urban planning, regeneration, environmental protection and design.

While still in the early stages, it is our hope that the RTPI’s new Planners Beyond Boundaries initiative will bring planning employers, education establishments and employment organisations together to offer displaced planners opportunities to live, work and train in the UK.

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