Forum wants strategies climate change proofed

Regional spatial strategies must be climate change proofed, the National Planning Forum (NPF) demanded this week.

Launching a best practice guide on dealing with climate change this week, NPF secretary Graeme Bell urged planners and developers to do more to tackle global warming when planning housing developments.

The guide collates all government guidance on the issue and emphasises the need to respond to impacts such as water shortages and flooding. Key advice includes improving energy efficiency and drainage of new and existing developments.

Planning staff should avoid obscure regulations that burden businesses.

Instead, they should focus on achieving carbon neutrality in all developments within five years, the document states.

The guide came as G8 energy ministers met in London for talks on low-carbon technology. After the meeting, prime minister Tony Blair hinted at a move away from a target-based approach to climate change, saying specific objectives made people "very nervous and very worried".

Friends of the Earth director Tony Juniper responded: "By downplaying clear targets the prime minister is ignoring calls from UK companies that want a clear framework." This view was echoed by the Institute for Public Policy Research, which published a report this week calling for greater action to meet carbon dioxide reduction targets.

Associate director Tony Grayling said: "Ministers should listen to the many business leaders calling for stable long-term policies to secure investment in low-carbon technologies."

Climate Commitment: Meeting the UK's 2010 CO2 Emissions Target can be viewed via

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