Why is planning important for climate change?   

Climate change is already impacting communities across the UK and reality is setting in that, over the next 50 years, there will be even more devastating consequences.   

Planning has the proven capability to provide lasting resilience. It can implement local measures such as sustainable drainage and secure development which is intrinsically resilient by design. But it can do far more than that. Planning could also provide a strategic framework to deal with the impact of at least 1.15 metres of sea level rise by 2100. But the system is not fulfilling its potential.   

The specific challenge for planning is to think about how these issues will play out over the lifespan of development (usually a minimum of 100 years) and to consider future climate impacts, for example how sea level will continue to rise after 2100. Our response now will lock us into certain irreversible pathways.   

This implies new ways of thinking and working. Time is running out for us to begin building resilience, so we need immediate, radical action. 

Training resources  

The resources on this page are designed to introduce the importance of planning for climate change and to explain, in a simple and easily accessible format, how to navigate and capitalise on the mechanisms and policy instruments that underpin this action.   

They are aimed primarily at local authority officers but are also useful for elected members, practitioners, students and anyone who is trying to understand how the planning system can contribute to addressing the climate challenge.


Building blocks for the relationship between the planning system and the changing climate.


TCPA Webinar: Planning for Climate Change - the adaptation challenge.

Planning for climate resilience – Hugh Ellis, Director of Policy, TCPA (time: 3:15). Presentation slides are available to download here.

Flood Re and the importance of future insurance availability in development – Katherine Greig, Senior Transition Specialist, Flood Re (time: 17:20). Presentation slides are available to download here.

Positive adaptation options – Sam Kipling, Senior Advisor, Environment Agency (time: 31:45). Presentation slides are available to download here.

Planning for climate change – Gemma Holmes, Senior Analyst, Committee on Climate Change (time: 49:00). Presentation slides are available to download here.


These resources have been produced thanks to the generous support of Flood Re. They will be available until January 2021.  

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