14th June 2021

Call on Government to put net zero and nature at the heart of planning

Proud to be among the businesses calling on Government to put net zero and nature at the heart of planning system.

Sir Robert McAlpine is among the 100 prominent business leaders that have written to the Prime Minister calling for the net zero transition, nature’s recovery, and climate resilience to be at the heart of the UK’s new planning system.

The letter, which has been co-ordinated by the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) and the Aldersgate Group, welcomes the government’s commitments to addressing the housing crisis and reaching net zero by 2050. To ensure it meets its housing targets and environmental commitments, it is vital that the Planning Bill drives a strategic approach to the net zero transition, ensuring that development which is resilient to the impacts of climate change, and that nature can be supported and restored.

The signatories therefore call on the Prime Minister to ensure the new Planning Bill directly aligns with the obligations under the Climate Change Act and plans to reverse nature’s decline in the Environment Bill. The letter highlights how planning can play a fundamental role in meeting the Government’s new homes target, achieving its environmental goals, and delivering the infrastructure that is needed for the transition to a decarbonised, climate-resilient economy.

The letter calls for:

  • The new Planning Bill to align directly with, and support, the UK’s net zero target and ambitions for nature set out in the Environment Bill

  • Clarity on how land allocated for ‘growth’ will be compatible with achieving net zero, securing nature’s recovery and delivering development resilient to the impacts of climate change.

  • Genuinely enhanced levels of protection in planning for designations in the Environment Bill intended to support nature’s recovery.

  • Increased resourcing and skills support for local planning authorities, in order to support their ability to set local targets, and deliver across multiple objectives in their local areas.

The letter has been sent to the Prime Minister, alongside Secretaries of State Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, Rt Hon George Eustice MP and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP.

The upcoming Planning Bill has been earmarked as the biggest planning shake up since World War II and represents a critical opportunity to embed a strategic vision for a decarbonised and climate resilient economy, as well as reversing biodiversity decline. Planning is part of a wider system that is currently failing to deliver both the quality and quantity of homes needed to tackle the environmental and social challenges we face, and the upcoming reforms must form part of a coherent, long term commitment by the Government to environmental protection; one that gives developers clarity around low carbon, nature friendly investment. The number of businesses coming together to support this letter today shows clear demand for climate change to be at the heart of our planning system, and I urge government to listen to industry and match the level of ambition set out in this letter.

Julie Hirigoyen, Chief Executive at UKGBC

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