Planning for the climate challenge

2016 study for JRF by TCPA (Town and Country Planning Association)

Despite the increasing intensity and frequency of climate-related impacts, local plans are not delivering on the basic standards set out in national law and policy for either mitigation or adaptation. To deliver the fundamental change required, climate change must be placed front and centre of the policy priorities of the spatial planning system. Only a radical refocusing of the system will meet the challenges of climate change, now and in the future.


This study found that local plans in England are not dealing with carbon dioxide emissions reduction effectively, nor are they consistently delivering the adaptation actions necessary to secure the long-term social and economic resilience of local communities. There was a wide variety of practice: there were some examples of positive responses, but, taken as whole, it is clear that since 2012 climate change has been de-prioritised as a policy objective in the spatial planning system. The large-scale failure to implement the clear requirements of national planning policy is a striking finding, as is the reduced capacity of the local authority planning service and the reduced capacity of Environment Agency to support the long-term plan-making process.


The study underpinning this report explored how local plans published since the National Planning Policy Framework was produced in 2012 are addressing climate change. Drawing on a sample of 64 local planning authorities in total, and based on an analysis of local planning documents, a survey of local authority planners and four more-detailed, area-based case study examinations, the study established the extent to which climate change mitigation and adaptation are reflected as priorities in local plan policy in England.






Full Report