A speech by Environment Secretary Michael Gove, in which he makes the case for urgent action to tackle climate change and reverse nature’s decline, has been welcomed by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).
Speaking at Kew Gardens in London, Mr Gove said that the scale of action required was ‘daunting’, but that there were political, economic and moral needs to act now to repair the damage done by humans to the planet.
Mr Gove also unveiled the government’s ambitions for a world-leading Environment Act which, he said, would ‘set a trajectory for environmental improvements for decades to come’.
Responding to the speech, the RTPI said that it wholeheartedly supported a ‘holistic and long term approach’ to sustainability, and that the proposed Act must place sustainable planning at the heart of the UK’s economic model.
RTPI President Ian Tant said: “We urge the Government to use the proposed Environment Bill to give planning and planners the resources, tools and national policies they need to take decisive and effective climate action.
“There is no realistic way to tackle climate change without adequate planning resources and policies, including adequate numbers of highly trained and professionally qualified planners – the Government’s own advisory body, the Committee on Climate Change, has recognised this.
“By putting planning at the centre of environmental management, the nation will be better equipped to tackle climate change. It will allow planners to devise and implement policies that eliminate greenhouse gas emissions in our buildings and transport infrastructure, and facilitate carbon neutral energy generation.”
Climate action will be at the heart of the RTPI’s new corporate strategy – due to be launched in the coming months - that will guide the Institute’s work from 2020 to 2030.