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Friends of the Earth > Local Groups > Oxford Friends of the Earth

Planning as if the climate mattered

Oxfordshire faces huge growth pressures with plans talking about 100,000 new homes across the county by 2031. For the past few months Oxford Friends of the Earth has been working on how we should respond to these issues.

Oxfordshire local councils have committed (in the ‘Oxfordshire 2030’ report) to cut greenhouse gas emission by 50% by the year 2030 (compared to 2008).  But the ‘Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership Greenhouse Gas Emissions Analysis’ report (2016) reminds us that: Meeting the Oxfordshire 2030 target will be further challenged by the county’s plans and aspirations to grow its economy and population. 

With all this in mind we organised a seminar at Oxford Brookes University on ‘Planning as if the climate mattered: How can our planning system be more effective at dealing with issues such as climate, air quality and biodiversity loss?

The event was intended to:

  • highlight the need for our planning processes to integrate targets for carbon emissions reduction, air pollution and biodiversity and nature
  • discuss how these and other targets can be dealt with in the proposed new Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) for Oxfordshire.

The report is here. It includes links to some excellent presentations by the speakers, including that of Naomi Luhde-Thompson (Senior Planner, Friends of the Earth England, Wales & N. Ireland) that sets out the legal duty for local councils in the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (Amended 2008) - especially in section 19 - that development plan documentation should include measures which seek to mitigate climate change.

A Joint Spatial Plan for Oxfordshire will need to incorporate:

  • policies, as legally mandated, to contribute to the mitigation of, and adaption to, climate change;
  • recognition of the crucial role of transport and the need to co-locate new homes and jobs as close as possible to minimise car use and maximise trip reduction;
  • a commitment to put the health and quality of life of our population at its heart.

Oxford Friends of the Earth calls on Oxfordshire local councils, the Growth Board and the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) to work with organisations in all sectors to achieve these goals and thus to help "future proof" our county and communities.

The seminar was organised by Oxford Friends of the Earth in association with the School of the Built Environment at Oxford Brookes University. It was sponsored by Need Not Greed Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire Climate Action Network, and South Oxfordshire Sustainability and supported by the Oxford Civic Society.