Planning Sustainability

Projects of the scale of CCRM generally will need planning approval from local authorities. This requires not only preparing a submission that will meet the requirements of the national and local planning rules, but planners who are well informed on climate change and its solutions, as well as the inevitable tradeoff between sustainability goals.
Local planning decisions must take into account a wide array of aims, regulatory requirements and statutory requirements. There are goals of environmental protection, job creation, architectural heritage, a mix of commercial and residential spaces, etc. Hence a planning authority thinks quite naturally in terms of multi-attribute decisions, or the balancing of diverse aims and requirements so changes to a community are fair and equitable. Since climate change is only one of many issues associated with sustainability, we have produced this page to help local authority planners assess the overall sustainability credentials of a CCRM project. This material can also be used by CCRM project teams to place those projects in the context of sustainability sought by the local authorities, ensuring the greatest chance of success for planning applications. The Mobilisation site will also be of interest here, since that can be an important basis for community consultation about projects, deomstrating to local authorities that the project has the support of key stakeholders.

A Chinese Approach

We recognise that different communities may have different approaches to sustainability. As a step towards addressing these differences, we created an (Alternative) Community Planning Model that provides an innovative way of assessing sustainability based on the Chinese principles of enabling and impeding forces for sustainability. Such an approach can be useful in developing a richer cultural dialogue around the sustainability of different visions of community development.
We created a Planning Sustainability Tool using the 68 UK National Sustainability Indicators as a basis for evaluating the sustainability of a project (described on the Sustainability Checklist page). It is built broadly on the idea of DPSIR used commonly in planning:
Drivers: Broad changes to a community that "drive" more detailed changes. An example here is population growth.
Pressures: Specific changes in the practices of a community produced by a Driver. An example here is increased energy use, and carbon dioxide emissions, due to the growth of population.
States: Changes in the environment, economy, etc as a result of these Pressures. An example is climate change due to increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Impacts: The changes in quality of life in the community as a result of these changes in States. An example is increased heat waves in summer resulting from climate change.
Response: The policies, programmes, practices, etc a community puts in place to alleviate undesirable Impacts (or to further desired Impacts). An example here is improved energy efficiency requirements on buildings to drive down energy use.
We have produced a short Tutorial to help you understand the Planning Sustainability Tool. If you are familiar with the Tool, or have used a DPSIR framework in the past, you may want to skip directly to the Tool itself. Otherwise:
Travel to the Tutorial Page