Monday, March 25, 2019

Climate Emergency

   The Royal Town Planning institute have just published a booklet on Large Scale Housing with barely a mention about climate change and nothing about embodied carbon. Hanham Hall is featured as an example of a Code for Sustainable Homes Level 6 development but this was completed by Barratts in 2013 when there was a prospect of the Zero Carbon Homes standard being introduced in 2016, and does not appear to be an example that has been followed.  I responded by suggesting to the RTPI that it declares a "Climate Emergency" to bring it in line with the growing number of councils that have done so, and which employ Chartered Planners and determine planning applications.
    At  Futurebuild 2019 there was a 'meeting of  presidents' that included those from the RTPI and RICS, giving me a opportunity to suggest that planners should familiarise themselves with the Whole Life Carbon Assessments for the Built Environment RICS 2017. I am attracted to the possibility of the institutes recognising the "Climate Emergency" to create a level playing field and a measure of solidarity between the professionals working to adapt the built environment to a net zero economy.
   The question arises as to what is implied by declaring a "Climate Emergency".  The obvious point is that the 1.5 degree C target should be a material consideration in all plan-making and decision-taking.  Those working within councils could also propose the display of a 'carbon counter to counter carbon' in prominent location(s) within the district/city.  Many councils have museums run by the authority and the carbon story from 280ppm (ie the pre-industrial level) to 411ppm  (and rising) could be displayed ending with ideas from the visiting public about what a net zero carbon economy/society might look like.

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