Climate Change And Planning Applications Reviewed
A White Paper on sustainability and planning rules is about to appear. Ruth Kelly, the Government’s Communities Secretary, wants climate change to be an integral part of the agenda for the overall planning process, regarding both infrastructure and local renewable technologies. So why has the Local Government Association already rejected the White Paper?
The detail is always the issue, of course, but surely the Local Government Association (LGA) is plain wrong to reject – or so it appears – Ruth Kelly’s proposed White Paper on planning rules and sustainability even before it goes to print?
There may well be issues about how planning applications for big projects such as airport terminals are handled, but the present system is hardly perfect. (The time scale – six years – and cost of the process for Heathrow’s fifth terminal is one example.)
Addressing climate change where it makes a difference
The critical point of the intended White Paper is that it attends to the very real challenge of climate change. Yvette Cooper, the Department of Communities and Local Government Housing Minister, is already lined up to head a ‘green buildings
task force’; now Ruth Kelly wants to do her bit by enabling more easily the actual implementation of the essential changes to the way things will be done.
Oliver Letwin, the Conservatives’ policy spokesperson, and (Lord) Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, Tory leader of the LGA, have responded to the idea of the Green Paper by talking about loss of ‘local control’.
A global issue, not a local one
I’m all for local people feeling empowered and engaged – the local dimension does matter – but haven’t Messrs Letwin and Bruce-Lockhart lost the plot?
Climate change is a global issue, not one which can be resolved primarily by local consultation, for goodness’ sake.