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RTPI supports assurances for Environment Act

28 May 2019

The RTPI joins other leading business, environmental, academic and professional groups to publish a set of assurances needed from Government to put sustainability at the heart of the UK’s economic model. 

“Strategic predictability” for long term environmental management

Published by the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA), the assurances set out the key elements needed for a clear and coherent Environment Act that gives society strategic predictability on the long-term pathway for the environment.

Important elements include setting clear and coherent long term direction, including through well designed environmental targets that command public and business legitimacy and ownership, clarifying where responsibilities lie as early as possible, and using the Office for Environmental Protection to hold the government to account for ensuring policies are adequate for meeting environmental goals.

Martin Baxter, IEMA’s Chief Policy Advisor, said:

“The Environment Act is a one-off chance to set a clear and certain pathway that enables all sectors to plan, invest and collaborate towards a sustainable future and healthy environment. It will enable all parts of government to work together better to ensure policies more coherently and consistently encourage good environmental management. 

“In this way the Bill can ensure the economy meets the environmental challenges ahead in ways that go with the grain of doing successful business: driving innovation, aligning with business and investment cycles and creating opportunities for UK business.”

Richard Blyth, RTPI Head of Policy and Research, said:

“We wholeheartedly support this holistic and long term approach to sustainability and believe that planning has a vital role to play.

“Putting planning at the centre of environmental management would allow communities to influence how their local environment is used and provide a means of coordinating between different groups and interests. Decision-making about the environment could be integrated with planning for housing, economic growth, transport, health and wellbeing and more.”

The Government published the first part of the Environment Bill in December 2018, including its plans for the Office for Environmental Protection. The Bill is due to be published later in the year.

Post-Brexit environmental watchdog fundamentally flawed

RTPI made clear in its response to the draft Environmental Bill that a post-Brexit environmental watchdog that only has jurisdiction for England is deeply flawed and will not provide enough independent scrutiny of the Government.

It calls for a common framework of principles and enforcement actions that applies across the UK.

RTPI's evidence to a parliamentary committee inquiry into the draft Environment Bill is here. 

RTPI research into post Brexit environmental planning is here.