Archived press release
Planning Bill must include climate duty

The Government must make climate change a central consideration of the Planning Bill, Friends of the Earth said today (Thursday 6 November 2008) as the Report stage of the Bill begins in the House of Lords.

On Tuesday (4 November 2008) the Government announced that it had tabled two amendments to the Planning Bill by adding a climate change duty to National Policy Statements, which will set out detailed plans for airports, roads and power stations, and requiring a Lords Committee to approve all of these statements. The environmental campaign group believes the Government’s amendments don’t go far enough and mitigation of climate change is still not the central focus of the Bill.

Friends of the Earth and a coalition of conservation charities have published an advert in The Times and The Daily Telegraph today urging MPs to vote for strong amendments to the Planning Bill to guarantee that new developments will help to prevent dangerous climate change.

Friends of the Earth’s Planning Campaigner Hugh Ellis said:

“The Government’s amendments are too vague and don't go far enough – this Bill will still make it easy for ministers to ignore climate change when making decisions about major projects such as roads and airports."

“Under the Climate Change Bill the Government has committed the UK to reducing our carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 - but climate change currently sits within an unenforceable clause in the Planning Bill."

“The Planning Bill must give the Secretary of State an unambiguous duty to ensure that the prevention of climate change is at the heart of all planning decisions.”

Notes:

1. The Government announced on Tuesday 4 November that it had added a new climate change duty and parliamentary scrutiny to strengthen the Planning Bill. For more information see: http://nds.coi.gov.uk/Content/Detail.asp?space¬
ReleaseID=383250&NewsAreaID=2

 
2. The duty to mitigate and adapt to climate change has been inserted into an existing duty on sustainable development in the Planning Bill. Friends of the Earth believes that the prevention of climate change should have a standalone clause in the Planning Bill, with a clear opportunity for decisions to be challenged. The green campaign group agrees that new energy and transport infrastructure is vital - but says it must be designed to deliver a low carbon economy which respects and enhances our environment. The National Policy Statements which will set out detailed plans for infrastructure such as airports and power stations should have climate change and the protection of the environment as central issues.

3. A survey by Friends of the Earth in June 2008 showed that 95 per cent of people think climate change should be considered in planning decisions for major projects.

4. Friends of the Earth has been campaigning to strengthen the Planning Bill for the last three years and more than 10,000 people have expressed concern to their MP over the proposals. The green group believes that the Planning Bill could deliver a sustainable low carbon future for the UK only if it restores democratic accountability, provides a proper right to be heard and ensures that climate change and environmental assessment are at the heart of the National Policy Statements.

 

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Published by Friends of the Earth Trust