Planning to fail: CPRE finds government failing to map route to net zero - CPRE: The Countryside Charity

The vast majority of local councils have now declared climate emergencies – but they don’t have strategies in local plans (how councils agree their building and infrastructure strategy) to make sure they reach net zero carbon, our new research has found.

We’re delighted that around 85% of councils in England have announced ambitious targets to reach net zero carbon – many for 2030 rather than the government’s 2050 target. But of the 24 local authority local plans adopted outside Greater London since the government’s legally binding 2050 target was set, only one – the Plymouth and South-West Devon Joint Plan – sets out a quantified strategy to reduce its area’s carbon output.

Without clear strategies involving housing, businesses, industry and transport – which between them generate 62% of our carbon emissions – it’s unlikely that councils can meet their climate targets, especially given most local plans are designed to last about 15 years.

Crucially, government planning inspectors, who are responsible for signing off on local plans, aren’t required to prioritise reaching net zero or demand that plans are clear on how they help councils get there. Despite a national policy requirement that local plans should help to achieve ‘radical reductions’ in emissions, there is very little evidence of such measures. CPRE believes planning inspectors must give as much weight to environmental targets as they do housebuilding ones.

Read our views on planning and the climate emergency: Why the government needs to make sure net zero is in local plans

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Posted On: 25/03/2022

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