Resilience in Local Planning

Resilience in Local Planning

A Localis Webinar – Wednesday 8 March 2023 from 11:00 to 12:00

Aims & objectives of webinar

This webinar was the first event in Localis’ year long campaign for a Local Resilience Act. It explored the current state and role of climate resilience and mitigation in recently adopted local plans as well as the wider readiness of local planning authorities to adapt to climate change at the level of place. Other considerations included what provisions are in place for authorities, and what stage in their journey they are at.

The essay questions for panellists was:

  • How fit for purpose are local plans, and the broader NPPF, in embedding climate resilience in place?
  • How can the NPPF be amended to better facilitate climate resilience?

Background and context

As climate shifts worldwide, councils across England are being hit by increasingly extreme weather patterns including violent storm surges, unbearable temperatures, and widespread flooding. Even under the most minimal of warming scenarios, infrastructure, public health, and GDP will all worsen due to the weighty pressure of extreme weather events.

If action is not taken, the UK might see damages of up to 7.4 percent reduction of its potential GDP by the end of the century, alongside devastating shocks to its agricultural sector and to the health of its population. Yet with suitable upstream mitigation and preventative measures in place, that figure would drop to a predicted 2.4 percent. Local authorities have the capability to enact necessary resilience measures for both the built and natural environment.

However, the current funding landscape for local government to deliver resilient places is far too piecemeal and insufficient. Furthermore, the system is overwrought with complexity – the division of responsibilities between local, central government and industry are too fragmented and disconnected for this to be addressed as a whole place agenda.

To address these problems, Localis proposes the drafting of legislation and construction of cross-sectoral support for a Local Resilience Act (LRA).

The LRA would serve to: –

  • Ensure funding for place resilience to meet a statutory duty upon local authorities, as a core service line, to provide the best adaptation measures for the built and natural environments in the coming generations.
  • Streamline existing legislation – including the current Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill currently going through parliament – to allow the absolutely necessary changes to happen at the local level.

Panel line up:

  • Alastair Brown, Director, Arete Consultancy & Management Ltd
  • Ben Smith, Director of Climate and Sustainability Services, Arup
  • Harry Steele, Infrastructure Specialist, Royal Town and Planning Institute
  • Jo Wall, Strategic Director – Climate Response, Local Partnerships LLP