Given the climate crisis, does our society have a future? Climate impacts are worse, and happening much quicker, than expected. Sea level rise has increased from 3.2 mm to around 5 mm per year, and 1.1 metre increase by 2100 is now a conservative estimate. Severe weather is intensifying as global temperature increases drive the energy in weather systems, while oceans are acidifying at a rapid rate due to absorbing records amount of CO2.

Following the United Nations Climate Action Summit in September and the ‘United in Science’ report which underlined the glaring – and growing – gap between agreed targets to tackle global warming and the actual reality, the TCPA’s Spring Conference will focus on how planning can utilise its wealth of solutions to be at the heart of radical change. It will explore how the planning system can help secure the radical cuts in CO2 we need, re-engineer our places and showcase examples of what action some places are already taking.

The conference will include speakers from a wide range of bodies and is vital for all those involved in the renewal of existing or creation of new communities: councillors, policy makers, developers, housebuilders, planners, consultants, urban designers, academics, architects, landscape architects, community activists. And anyone else who wants to consider how we shape the country for the common good.                       

Draft Agenda:


10.00   Registration and networking

            Tea & coffee available


10.45   Welcome and introduction from the Chair

Mary Parsons, Chair, TCPA; and Group Director Placemaking and Regeneration, Places for People


10.50   Overview of the TCPA’s work on climate change and planning

Fiona Howie, Chief Executive, TCPA


Session 1: The climate challenge


11.00   Keynote address

Baroness Brown of Cambridge DBE FREng FRS, Chair, Adaptation Committee, Committee on Climate Change (invited)


11.20   Positive adaptation options

Sam Kipling, Senior Advisor - Resilience and Adaptation, Environment Agency


11.30   BoKlok - low carbon, affordable modular homes, developed by Skanska and IKEA

David Mason, Environment Technical Director, Skanska (invited)


11.45   Questions & discussion with the audience


12.00   Lunch break


Session 2: The technical solutions


13.00   Developing a new district heat network at Cranbrook

Andy Wood, Projects Director, East Devon District Council (invited)


13.15   Delivering locally controlled renewables

Councillor Sally Longford, Deputy Leader, Portfolio Holder for Energy, Environment & Democratic Services Nottingham City Council


13.30   Adaptation in a rural setting

John Scott, Director of Conservation and Planning, Peak District National Park


13.45   Questions & discussion with the audience


14.00   Tea & coffee break


Session 3: Practical change - workshops (delegates can choose 2 options)


14.20   Workshop 1


15.10   Workshop 2


Options – each will run twice:


  1. How do we radically reduce carbon emissions through local planning?

Sam Hunter Jones, Lawyer, Climate Accountability, Client Earth and Hugh Ellis, Policy Director, TCPA

Local planning authorities are bound by the legal duty set out in Section 19 of the 2004 Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act, as amended by the 2008 Planning Act, to ensure that, taken as whole, plan policy contributes to the mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change in line with the objectives and provisions of the Climate Change Act 2008.


This workshop will explore what the impact of this has been and how can local authorities use it to address climate change.


  1. Making it real – the use of certification and assessment

Gwyn Roberts, BREEAM, BRE (invited)

What do you think of when you think of certification? A graduate holding up an embossed roll? A stamped jar of coffee? Or perhaps the padlock on a secure web browser? In all these cases, you would be right. Certification schemes are used by stakeholders as a way of providing assurance, driving standards and giving greater confidence in outcomes. The BRE’s Environment Assessment Method (BREEAM), the Home Quality Mark (HQM) and Civil Engineering Environmental Quality Assessment and Award (CEEQUAL) are the longest standing family of schemes operating across the entire built environment sector and are used by planners (and other stakeholders) to drive sustainability performance and support the delivery of added value for people, industry and society more widely. 


This workshop will introduce BREEAM and reveal what achieving BREEAM ‘excellent’ entails, and how this can be recognised (using some real-life examples). There will also be a discussion about the cost and viability of achieving this.


  1. Resources to develop positive, ambitious low-carbon neighbourhood plans

Dan Stone, Project Manager, Centre for Sustainable Energy

Neighbourhood plans have huge potential to:

  • Nurture public understanding and consent for the scale of changes needed to address the climate crisis
  • Build informed consent for renewable energy projects and bring forward projects
  • Encourage sustainable design in new development and zero carbon development
  • Plan for sustainable transport and sustainable development patterns
  • Identify key local climate vulnerabilities and opportunities
  • Identify and protect biodiversity


This workshop will explore these issues and discuss how to go about putting ambitious low-carbon neighbourhood plans in place.


16.00   Conclusions from the Chair

Mary Parsons, Chair, TCPA; and Group Director Placemaking and Regeneration, Places for People


16:10   Conference finishes



*Prices are inclusive of VAT

Agenda subject to change.

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