THE planning system is one of the most powerful levers the Government can pull to tackle climate breakdown. The fact that local councils aren’t being supported screams inaction when we have no time to spare.
Net zero will be out of reach without fundamental change – all new housing developments must be carbon negative, with the most environmentally friendly designs possible as well as hedgerows, woodlands and nature being integrated into the planning process.
In recent years, 75 per cent of all new housing developments have been of mediocre or poor design quality, and we have lost five years of any progress on more energy efficient new homes. The climate emergency must urgently be put at the heart of planning decisions for there to be any real chance of hitting net zero by 2050.
Local plans need to radically reduce public dependence on car travel by introducing thriving 20-minute neighbourhoods that place housing, amenities and workplaces within walking distance of each other. A genuine ‘brownfield first’ approach would have the dual benefits of redeveloping land in the heart of communities where housing is most needed, while at the same time retaining and reusing the embodied carbon.
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