Business leaders ask Government to put net zero and nature at the heart of planning system

Photo by Christina Morillo:

More than 100 prominent business leaders are calling 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.

Co-ordinated by the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) and the Aldersgate Group, 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.’

Julie Hirigoyen, Chief Executive at UKGBC commented: “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.”

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 abillity 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 Robert Jenrick, George Eustice and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove.

Signatory businesses in the letter include Anglian Water, igloo, Grantham Institute and Thames Water.

The letter can be read in full on the UKGBC website.