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PR 10 - Planning must be recognised as a key means of delivering action on climate change

14 March 2007

The RTPI today welcomed the government's published proposals for a Climate Change Bill.  The proposed bill makes the UK a field leader in adopting binding measures to significantly reduce the emissions of greenhouse gasses. It a strong and timely response to the excellent advice provided in the Stern Report.

The bill is proposed to support fiscal and regulatory measures to reduce carbon emissions.  Heating and lighting our buildings accounts for approximately 50% of British carbon dioxide emissions.  Manufacturing and using construction materials accounts for another 10%.  Building design and construction processes that lead to these impacts are managed through the planning and building control systems.  Planning decisions are also taken about energy and transport development.  The impacts, location and design of everything from new power stations to motorways and public transport systems will be critical to our success in delivering the targets proposed in the bill.

RTPI Head of Policy and Practice Rynd Smith said: \"the government must recognise the role of planning in setting and delivering policy and performance requirements for the construction, energy and transport sectors.  As Sir Nicholas Stern said, planning must be one of the tools that is used to achieve the greenhouse gas reductions that we need. In this context, the RTPI stands ready to work with the planning profession to deliver the proposed targets, but asks that the bill should require the government to identify best practice in planning policy and decision making and use this to achieve its ends.\"

Importantly, the bill includes a commitment to set carbon budgets, based on five year target periods.  The RTPI views a five year budget as a broadly reasonable compromise between the need for swift and responsive action and the need to provide certainty around design and technology in the energy, transport and construction sectors.  However, government should heed the advice of its proposed Climate Change Committee and be willing to make targets more stringent within each five year period, where technological change provides the ability to do so.  There must be a mechanism to capture carbon declines beneath the proposed floor and hence to improve on performance against the proposed target, where technology makes this feasible.




For further information please contact:

Andrew Kliman, RTPI Communications Manager, 0207 929 9479, mob. 07870 672 020

Rynd Smith, RTPI Head of Policy and Practice, 0207 929 9478


Notes to Editors

1. [1] The Stern Report can be found at


2.  The RoyalTown Planning Institute (RTPI)

The RTPI is a dynamic organisation leading the way in the creation of places that work now and in the future. We understand that just as people develop places, so places develop people.  We are committed to the enhancement of our natural and human environment, using spatial planning to manage competing pressures on our built environments and the very real effects on our space.  Through our members, we constantly seek to create areas and places in which people want to live and work.

As well as promoting spatial planning, RTPI develops and shapes policy affecting the built environment, works to raise professional standards and supports members through continuous education, training and development. The RTPI is the largest professional institute for planners

worldwide, with over 20,000 members.

For further general information, visit the RTPI website at:

41 Botolph Lane, London, EC3R 8DL, charity no. 262865