Local planning boost could help climate change efforts

Government efforts to integrate climate change measures in this week's Communities White Paper received a welcome from campaigners, although more could be done to integrate sustainable strategies into local planning overall, campaigners have said.

The White Paper, which aims to rebalance the relationship between central and local government and give people more of a say on their local environment, was published on Thursday.

Provisions for local action on climate change and other environmental issues were welcomed by campaigners from the Town and Country Planning Association.

Gideon Amos, TCPA chief executive, said: “This White Paper reaffirms the crucial place-shaping role that planning plays and the difference this makes to our homes, neighbourhoods and communities. We welcome the commitment to planning’s role in tackling climate change as well as plans for a new Planning Policy Statement on this urgent issue.

But “Government must go further in integrating the range of different plans and strategies that pose such a challenge to good and transparent governance.

“Integrating sustainable development strategies and local development frameworks for example would help to reduce unnecessary red tape and speed up delivery,” he said.

Introducing the White Paper, Prime Minister Tony Blair said: “Good local government makes a huge difference to our lives. From the moment we step outside our front door it is about how our neighbourhoods look and feel, to the quality of our schools and the facilities in our local park.

“Good local authorities benefit from strong and accountable leaders who are in touch with confident communities who will fight for what is best.”

The Strong and Prosperous Communities White Paper can be accessed here.

Goska Romanowicz

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