Planning system not playing its part in sustainable transition

16th April 2015

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Chelsie Love

National needs must take priority over local issues in planning cases, according to two-thirds of environment and sustainability professionals responding to IEMA's latest pre-election poll.

Out of 646 members polled, 65% say that, while a balance is obviously needed, nationally significant infrastructure projects must take priority. Three-quarters of respondents said that existing planning legislation, policies and guidance is not capable of helping to create a sustainable economy.

Lack of action on this issue could threaten the UK's ability to implement infrastructure projects that harmonise with the need to protect the natural environment, IEMA warned.

The Institute's policy lead on planning and environmental impact Josh Fothergill said: "This poll very markedly shows that there is an opportunity for the incoming government to take the bold decision needed to kick the UK's transition to a sustainable economy up a gear."

The poll also found:

  • 92% of respondents want the Green Investment Bank to be given wider investment and borrowing powers.
  • 89% believe prominent regional concerns, such as peaks in air pollution, should not be left to local authorities alone to tackle.
  • 84% say brownfield sites should be a priority for new housing developments, while 58% believe urban infill is a key option. A further 42% want publically owned land be used for development.
  • 64% want improved compensation for householders whose homes are sacrificed as part of managed retreat in areas at risk of coastal erosion.

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