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Planning for Climate Change

This guide, prepared by the RTPI and the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA), is intended to help planners and politicians to tackle climate change and improve resilience. It is designed to inform the preparation of strategic and local development plans being prepared by local and combined authorities in England. The guide is aimed primarily at the local planning system in England, although the principles have wider applicability.

Why did we publish this guide?

Although the current National Planning Policy Framework contains strong policy on climate change, deliveryon the ground through local plans has been relatively poor. Local plans in England are not dealing with carbon dioxide emissions reduction effectively, nor are they consistently delivering the adaptation actions necessary to secure the long-term resilience of local communities.This inaction is due partly to a chronic lack of resources in English local government, which has contributed to a loss of skills on energy and climate change. But it is also related to the government's cancellation of both the zero-carbon commitment and the Code for Sustainable Homes, as well as the deregulation of planningthrough the expansion of permitted development, which has led to the conversion of buildings for residential use without effective planning controls. In this context, action on climate change can seem hard to achieve.

But there are clear opportunities to actnow, and strong legal and policy requirement do remain in place. We can also embrace new, transformative,technological opportunities to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and deal with flood risk when making planning decisions.What is required in this environment is the confidence to act, and the certainty to make best use of this existing policy, legislation, and technology. This is what this guide aims to provide.

The status of this guide

While the guide is not a government document, the approaches set out have been designed to support the policy outlined in the National Planning Policy Framework and online Planning Practice Guidance and in relevant law, including the 2008 Climate Change Act. The guide is a living document, partly because renewable energy and adaptation technologies are changing so fast, and partly because the planning system is under near-constant reform.

Click here to download the guide