Friday, February 22, 2019

Young people to the rescue

     For those who have not responded to the Royal Town Planning Institute consultation on its 'vision', 'mission' and principles, could I encourage you to do so (see URL in earlier Post).  The more I think about it and listen to those working with forest gardening and bioregioning and listen to discussions about garden cities and green belts, the greater I see the opportunity to persuade the RTPI to include the natural environment in its main purposes.  The consideration for and regeneration of the the natural environment would have to be translated into the professional code of conduct that should make Members of the Institute answerable to the public when relevant interests are the subject of plan-making or decision-taking.
     Another 'old chestnut' is the RICS 2017 report on Whole Life Carbon assessment for the Built Environment  claiming that 51% of the carbon emissions associated with a dwelling are embodied at practical completion (I assume this includes the services and infrastructure). I have sought rebuttals of this figure and been offered none. Although new dwellings will only be a small percentage of the whole (almost all existing dwellings will require a deep energy efficiency refit in the next ten years), the construction phase and carbon emissions arise in the very short term during which total emissions must fall dramatically, and what happens over the next 60 years is pretty well irrelevant unless the economy gets to net zero between 2030 and 2040.  In this context 1m houses in 5 years or 300,000 a year thereafter, will not be achieved within carbon budgets.
    Finally a word about young people (behaving like adults) and adults behaving like children.  When our politicians look again at issues other than comparing 'soft-Brexit' with 'no-Brexit', they will find it difficult to ignore the moral authority assumed by a generation of younger people making loud noises about the environment and their future.  I would hope that many if not all of these young people would engage with the land use planning system if the health of the bioregions in which they live were given priority.   Every day seems to show another council (planning authority) declaring a "climate emergency" that implies an acceptance of the trajectory of carbon emissions reductions consistent with the recommendations of the IPCC 2108 Report (which refers to urban planning) and the need to keep warming below 1.5 degreesC.

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