Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Too little too late or climate tittle tattle

The planning and development industry is becoming increasingly frustrated with the Government's attitude and approach to both mitigating climate chnage and nature recovery. A letter has been sent coordinated by the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) and sent to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, levelling up secretary Michael Gove, environment secretary Thérèse Coffey, and energy secretary Grant Shapps. It claims that the planning system is not providing a consistent approach to handling climate change and environmental considerations resulting in delays, costs, and legal challenges. The 100 businesses that have signed the letter are calling on the government to strengthen the current planning bill by including “a new, clear legal duty for planning decisions and plan-making to explicitly align with the UK’s carbon budgets and adaptation goals under the Climate Change Act 2008, and nature restoration targets under the Environment Act 2021”. The letter is on the UKGBC web site.All these businesses should be taking posve action while they wait for a response. Unfortunately the Government is preoccupied by fighting off legal challenges to its dangerously ill informed approach to climate change; the Saltcross Garden Village, coal mining, airport expansions and north sea oil licensing. Instead of steering the UK onto a path consistent with the carbon budgets set by the Climate Change Committee it continues to make unwarranted claims about world leadership and claims that Lord Callanan at Beis is still, after 5 years of trying, up to the job of insulating over 20m sub-standard dwellings to address both fuel poverty and carbon emissions. Having it explained that deploying carbon negative technologies to remove carbon from the atmosphere could trigger rebound effect as carbon will re-emerge from the oceans Beis have confirmed that this effect is not taken into account in the Energy Bill as the focus should be on reducing emissions in the first place. And the Climate Change Committee are issuing its progress report on 28 June 2023 which should analyses the impact of building large numbers of houses with high levels of embodied carbon. Suggestions are welcomed for a collective noun for well meaning but useless individuals and organisations that are failing to deal effectively with carbon emissions that build the Keeling Curve showing concentrations at 424ppm

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Builders not blockers but carbon blind

It is not everyday that the Guardian publishes my letter. This is the theme of a Blog sent to rd Brick, rejected on Any Answers but accepted by the paper on second asking subject to a little editing. "Promising to be the "builders not the blockers" might be good electioneering but suggests that Labour is attempting to sidestep carbon budgets when making its policies (Labour plan to free up land to tackle housing crisis 30 May). If new housing is to be added to the existing surplus (currently about one million more dwellings than households) it must be right to focus on registered providers building houses on cheaper land, preferably at social rent. But the proposed 300,000 new dwellings a year would result in carbon emissions embodied in the houses and associated services equivalent to 113% of the carbon budget for the whole of the economy. The crisis is caused by the grossly unfair distribution of housing and, in particular, under-occupation is at unsustainable levels. About 50% of the space and fabric required to be insulated and heated is not meeting housing needs. As under-occupation is also a main cause in the closing of local schools (Primary schools in cities at risk as families move to cheaper areas 30 May) this is where Labour should be focusing its attention." It's nice to have an audience but Labour will take no notice.