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Property Companies Ask Government For Regulation To Make Climate Part Of Planning Process

Houses of parliament in London

More than 100 companies from across the built environment are calling on the government to change regulation and make tackling climate change central to the planning process in the UK. 

In an open letter organised by the UK Green Building Council, the companies said aligning climate policy and planning policy would help the UK better meet its net-zero carbon targets and avoid confusion among planning departments and developers that is stymying the number of homes being built. 

That confusion is caused by local planning authorities treating the need to reduce carbon in different ways, creating uncertainty among developers about what climate policy they should be applying to their developments. 

Among the signatories of the letter — addressed to, among others, Rishi Sunak, prime minister, and Michael Gove, the secretary of state for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities — are companies like Landsec, Grosvenor, Related Argent, BNP Paribas Real Estate UK, JLL, Colliers and Avison Young. 

The letter calls on the prime minister to amend the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill to directly align the planning system with the UK’s climate commitments and adaptation goals under the Climate Change Act as well as nature restoration targets under the Environment Act.

“Our experience is that the current planning system is not fit for purpose, in terms of providing a consistent approach to handling climate change and environmental considerations,” the letter says. 

“Current legal duties and planning policies have proven insufficient for delivering action, as shown by the lack of consistent carbon auditing for local plans and headline decisions by the planning inspectorate. The lack of clarity risks delays, costs, and legal challenges. Meanwhile many local communities continue to see unsustainable, unpopular development built in unsuitable locations, with thousands of homes built on floodplains without sufficient mitigation.”