Press release: Government must radically change planning policy to deal with climate change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC’s) Special Report on Global Warming at 1.5°C—which calls on governments around the world to take ‘rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society’ to avoid irreversible global warming—is a dramatic development in the climate science. It will require radical changes in energy systems and flood protection at a rate much faster than we thought. Planning is vital way of driving practical change to secure our future but national policy does not give climate change the priority it needs.

The IPCC report represents our last chance to act if future generations are to have a viable and secure future. The government must act now to:

  • Create a department with overall responsibility for climate change
  • Issue much stronger planning policy on climate change, making clear the vital need to radically cut emissions
  • Drive a complete rethinking of what and where we build to deal with the flood risk and severe weather which is now inevitable
  • Produce a national plan making clear how we will coordinate investment measures and guide development to the places least affected by drought and rising sea levels.

Local government must also act now to ensure all its plans have clear carbon-reduction targets. Any plan which does not have a target is clearly in breach of the NPPF.

Hugh Ellis, interim chief executive of the TCPA, said:

This report is a final call to action to a nation still critically unprepared  for the severe impacts of climate change.

Planning is key way  to  secure the benefits of low carbon and resilient society but the government current inaction could leave millions of people vulnerable to flooding and heat stress. We need to transform our communities  and we need to start right now.”


  1. The TCPA’s updated ‘Planning for Climate Change’ guide, which provides advice for planners, politicians and communities to tackle climate change at a local level, will be published on 6 December 2018.
  2. To read the IPCC’s Special Report on Climate Change at 1.5°C click here.
  3. The Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) is an independent campaigning charity calling for more integrated planning based on the principles of accessibility, sustainability, diversity and community cohesion. The TCPA puts social justice and the environment at the heart of the debate about planning policy, housing and energy supply. We inspire government, industry and campaigners to take a fresh perspective on major issues including climate change and regeneration.
  4. For further information, please contact Jack Mulligan at the TCPA on 07825 707 546 or [email protected].

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