The RTPI is redoubling its call on the Government to give more resources and powers to local planning authorities to tackle climate change.
Without planners or adequate planning systems and policies, there is no realistic way to progress to zero carbon.
Addressing a packed room with more than 350 people at RTPI’s annual conference today, President Ian Tant said planners lack the resources, policies and powers to make the significant impact that is now essential to meet the Government’s target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.
He said the Committee on Climate Change’s Net Zero UK report demonstrated that there has been comparatively little or no progress in reducing the carbon emissions of buildings or of surface transport.
He called on the Government to take radical climate actions around buildings and transport, and to develop a tool to help local authorities gauge the carbon impact of existing and emerging local plans.
Launching the RTPI’s “Resource Planning for Climate Action” campaign, Mr Tant said:
“It falls directly to planners to devise and implement policies to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions in our buildings and transport infrastructure, and to facilitate carbon neutral energy generation. It also falls to us to engage our communities so they come with us to accept the necessary changes.
“Without planners or adequate planning systems and policies, there is no realistic way to progress to zero carbon. The Government’s own advisory body, the Committee on Climate Change, recognises the role of planners in taking decisive and effective climate action.
“All of this means that now is the time for Government to enable planners to take the lead to get things done. We need to have the resources, the tools and the national policies to do the job. We need to be able to return rapidly to strategic and local policy making and to proactive delivery, rather than be left or regarded as a regulatory function.”
Practical solutions for carbon emission reduction
The RTPI campaign will focus on practical solutions to reduce carbon emissions and calls on the Government to:
- reintroduce the requirement that all new build homes are zero carbon and that measures and resources are put in place for existing homes to be zero carbon;
- develop a tool for assessing the carbon impact of existing and future local plans;
- ensure that climate change mitigation is a vital component of wider planning and infrastructure policy and that Government listens to the planning profession in formulating that policy;
- give more resources to local planning authorities;
- empower devolved national governments and local authorities to lead on climate change mitigation in the devolved nations and at local level and give them the resources to do so; and
- invest in UK infrastructure for smart energy heat and sustainable mobility, including greater collaboration between the ministries of BEIS, DfT and HCLG, as well as the devolved governments.
Ian Tant also vows to put climate action at the heart of the RTPI’s new corporate strategy that will guide its work from 2020 to 2030.
Read RTPI's latest ideas and initiatives on climate change here.
This year’s RTPI Yorkshire Awards Ceremony will also focus on climate change and will feature a keynote speech from Prof Harriet Bulkeley on the urban politics of climate change and sustainability.