Go to the TCPA homepage

If you're not a
member already –
you really should be! Read more about member benefits

Media library

back to Press Releases

Cross-sector group warns Prime Minister over Britain's reslience to flooding

Thursday 30th January 2014

Joint TCPA and Friends of the Earth press release on behalf of the Planning and Climate Change Coalition

A cross-sector group[1] of influential organisations have sent an open letter[2] to the Prime Minister in the run up to the deadline of the Government’s review into the nation’s preparedness for flooding. The Planning and Climate Change Coalition, which is led by the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) and Friends of the Earth, has urged David Cameron to ensure that the review, which the Prime Minister committed to publish by the end of the month, recognises the connection between climate change and extreme weather as well as the role of planning and good design in creating resilient communities. The Planning and Climate Change Coalition has also warned that failure to reverse proposed cuts to the Environment Agency will lead to worsening impacts from increasing flood events.

Dr Hugh Ellis, TCPA Head of Policy said:

“Given the growing scale and frequency of flooding, it is critical the Government’s flooding review reconsiders the advice and resources of the planning service to deal with future extreme weather events as a result of climate change, including reversing proposed cuts to the staffing levels at the Environment Agency.

“We welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment to report back by the end of the month on the nation’s ability to plan for, and respond to, flooding, following the recent devastating flooding across the country. However, in order for it to be a meaningful assessment into our capability to tackle flooding it must acknowledge the overwhelming scientific consensus of the role of climate change on increasing extreme weather events”

“Given the growing scale and frequency of flooding, it is critical this review reconsiders the advice and resources of the planning service to deal with future extreme weather events as a result of climate change, including reversing proposed cuts to the staffing levels at the Environment Agency”

“In particular, the review should acknowledge the role of good urban design, including along garden city principles, to deal with the challenges of flooding through building resilient high quality, well designed places that provide space for sustainable urban drainage, green infrastructure and enhanced biodiversity without adding cost to development. For example, green roofs can typically absorb around 50 per cent of rooftop runoff.”

The group writes that more extreme and intense weather events due to climate change are predicted. It is therefore of the utmost importance that the recent challenges of flooding are set within the wider context of the scientific analysis of climate change.  Failure to do so will put the UK at risk of damage and the associated costs, both now and in the future - PwC has estimated that the recent floods will set back UK insurers £400million, whilst the 2007 floods cost the British economy over £3billion.

Friends of the Earth climate campaigner Guy Shrubsole said: 

"David Cameron is clearly well aware that flooding is set to increase drastically with climate change, but his Government is sitting on its hands. 

"By cutting flood defence investment when it needs to grow to keep pace with our changing climate, the Coalition is putting some 250,000 extra households at flood risk needlessly. 

"The Prime Minister must take responsibility for protecting households from worsening flooding by reversing these cuts - and carry out a serious review of whether the country is prepared for climate change." 

The Planning and Climate Change Coalition have urged Government to:  

  • to ensure that flood risk investment is based on long-term climate change risks including ecosystem based approaches;
  • to set up a Cabinet-level committee on infrastructure and climate change resilience, bringing together all relevant departments including Defra, DCLG, DECC, DoT and Treasury;
  • to implement the Committee on Climate Change’s Adaptation Sub Committee report on managing land in a changing climate;
  • to urgently establish a Royal Commission to set out the long-term impacts of climate change on land, making  detailed recommendations as to the necessary institutional, funding and policy responses which will build our preparedness and security over the long term.

 -ENDS-

NOTES TO EDITORS:

1.   The cross sector Planning and Climate Change Coalition, a joint initiative between the TCPA and Friends of the Earth, was formed in July 2009 and aims:

  • To make recommendations for new strategic planning guidance on climate change in England, building on the policy outlined in Consultation on a Planning Policy Statement: Planning for a Low Carbon Future in a Changing Climate (March 2010), which brought together and updated PPS1 (planning and climate) and PPS22 (renewable energy).
  • To build consensus amongst a wide range of stakeholders on the benefits of new guidance
  • To work with Government to ensure the fastest possible implementation of the new guidance

The Coalition represents over 35 cross sector organizations, including: AECB, the Sustainable Building Association, BioRegional, Birmingham City Council, BRE, Butterfly Conservation, CAG Consultants, Campaign to Protect Rural England,  Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT), Chris Shepley CBE, Chris Tivey Associates, Climate UK, Combined Heat and Power Association,  Co-operative Group,  Council for British Archaeology,  David Howard, Energence Ltd, Friends of the Earth, Gerry Metcalfe, Grasslands Trust, Hugh Roberts, Landscape Institute,  Leonora Rozee OBE, LDA Design, LEAP Project, London Borough of Islington, London Borough of Sutton, Lynda Addison OBE, Marks Barfield Architects, National Energy Foundation, National Trust, Oxford Brookes University, Planet Positive, PRP Architects, Renewable Energy Association, Roger Lawes, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Royal Town Planning Institute, Sustain,  Sustainability East, Sustrans, Town and Country Planning Association, Urban Roots, White Architects, The Wildlife Trusts and Woodland Trust.

A copy of Planning for climate change – guidance for local authorities (April 2012) is available here from the TCPA website. 

2. Letter to the Prime Minister from the Planning and Climate Change Coalition:

                                                                                                                                                                                               C/O Town and Country Planning Association

17 Carlton House Terrace

London

SW1Y 5AS

 

The Rt Hon David Cameron MP

10 Downing Street
London
SW1A 2AA

30 January 2014

 

Dear Prime Minister, 

The Planning and Climate Change Coalition is a cross sector group of influential organisations led by the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) and Friends of the Earth. The Coalition seeks to ensure that the planning system fully addresses the challenges which climate change presents. 

The Planning and Climate Change Coalition is keen to support the Government’s review of the recent flooding disaster.  However, we believe that a fundamental reappraisal is required of how we are going to face the adaptation challenge in the context of intensifying climate change. The planning system has a pivotal role in building the resilience of new and existing communities, encompassing both climate change adaptation and mitigation, but we remain concerned that our policy and local plan framework do not allow for the kind of necessary strategic scale and forward planning which the nation requires

More extreme and intense weather events due to climate change are predicted. It is therefore of the utmost importance that the recent challenges of flooding are set within the wider context of the scientific analysis of climate change.  Failure to do so will put the UK at risk of damage and the associated costs, both now and in the future - PwC has estimated that the recent floods will set back UK insurers £400million, whilst the 2007 floods cost the British economy over £3billion.

We believe that our flood risk and climate change adaptation services must be protected from the impacts of spending reductions, in particular within the Environment Agency, DEFRA, Natural England and Local Authorities. Our planning system must also ensure that action on climate change adaptation and mitigation is its first priority in those communities which are most vulnerable to extreme weather.

We would also urge the Government to go further:

  • to ensure that flood risk investment is based on long-term climate change risks including ecosystem based approaches;
  • to set up a Cabinet-level committee on infrastructure and climate change resilience, bringing together all relevant departments including Defra, DCLG, DECC, DoT and Treasury;
  • implement the Committee on Climate Change’s Adaptation Sub Committee’s reports on ‘managing land in a changing climate’ (2013) and ‘preparing for flooding and water scarcity’ (2012);
  • urgently establish a Royal Commission to set out the long-term impacts of climate change on land, making  detailed recommendations as to the necessary institutional, funding and policy responses which will build our preparedness and security over the long term.

For more information on the Planning and Climate Change Coalition please visit: http://www.tcpa.org.uk/pages/climate-coalition.html

Yours sincerely,

The Planning and Climate Change Coalition 

  • TCPA
  • Friends of the Earth
  • RSPB
  • Southampton City Council
  • Sutton Council
  • The Wildlife Trusts
  • Woodland Trust
  • The Rutland Group
  • LDA Design
  • CSE
  • Sustrans
  • BioRegional
  • White Arkitekter
  • CAG Consultants
  • UKGBC
  • Sheppard Robson
  • AECB
  • Urban Roots
  • Energence
  • David Howard
  • db+a
  • Better Transport
  • Wildlife Gardening Forum
  • Marks Barfield Architects
  • Lynda Addison Consulting
  • Gerry Metcalf Associates
  • Chris Shepley
  • Elizabeth Wilson (individual from Oxford Brookes University)
  • Seema Manchanda (individual from Wandsworth Borough Council)

Copied to: Chairs of the Communities and Local Government Select Committee, Energy and Climate Change Select Committee and the Environmental Audit Committee

Shopping basket

Your basket contains:

  • Items: 0
  • Sub Total: £0.00
View basket