Peers for the Planet
Peers press for planning reform with net zero and nature at their heart
Last night Peers debated amendments to the Levelling up and Regeneration Bill on the importance of fully embedding climate and nature into our planning system - both at the level of national policy and in local planning decisions.
These amendments recognised that a properly balanced focus on climate and nature means not only environmental benefits, but sustainable use of our limited resources and the economic, social and cultural well-being of future generations. Peers emphasised the need to moving away from a piecemeal policy landscape on planning and net zero to one which is holistic, comprehensive and fully joined-up, citing evidence from the CCC, the NAO and the recent Skidmore Review. They noted the need to empower local authorities with the tools to achieve this and identified the importance of this for sustainable infrastructure, green jobs and improved health and well-being.
"Rather than the current piecemeal mentions of climate change and planning policy scattered throughout the legislation and the National Planning Policy Framework, this is a really good opportunity for the Government to update the Bill to fully embed these targets within statute and ensure that there is a coherent thread running through the whole planning system….. I hope that the Government will agree that now is the time to seize this legislative opportunity, because there will not be another in the short or medium term. Now is the time to act.”
Lord Ravensdale (amendments 179 and 271)
“Over 80% of councils have now declared a climate emergency, with a pledge to net zero sitting alongside that, so surely it is time that the Government and legislation caught up and helped provide the tools to do that.”…“The only way of ensuring that a holistic approach is taken to environmental issues is to ensure that all the relevant issues are built into local plans and considered for each development, whether that is water, flooding, soil, air quality, transport, access to open spaces, biodiversity, energy, waste or the whole-life carbon impact of buildings. These should all be part of the consideration of planning.”
Baroness Taylor Stevenage
“…there is no doubt that unlocking economic growth through planning reform, as was highlighted in the net zero review, could achieve real health benefits by fully aligning our planning system with climate change and nature targets.”
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath
“Many local authorities are straining at the leash to make their communities zero carbon and to ensure that they take steps to protect the well-being of their residents from flooding and extreme weather events, and from the costs and harm that they can see happening now and foresee coming…”
The Levelling-Up and Regeneration Bill continues its Committee stage in the Lords and a number of amendments relevant to climate and nature issues are still to be debated.