CPA News Archive: 2021
The Community Planning Alliance has responded to an Environmental Audit Committee inquiry which is asking, "Can the UK economy take greater account of natural capital?". We said, yes ... particularly in the planning system.
Here's a summary of the answers we gave to the questions posed:
- A Treasury team to be set up to lead and coordinate Natural Capital initiatives cross-government;
- Natural capital and inclusive wealth should be prioritised in the Green Book so that it is the starting point for the evaluation of all projects. The Green Book should be updated to incorporate the Dasgupta Review findings;
- Natural capital to be placed at the heart of the planning system so that professional judgement is supported by analysis and appropriate tax & accounting incentives:
a. Natural capital calculations to be compulsory in local plan making;
b. Paragraphs 8 & 11 of the NPPF to be re-worded to include natural capital;
c. Tax & accounting incentives to be aligned with environmental outcomes;
d. Alternatives to be assessed using natural capital analysis and to include ‘do nothing’.
Read our full response here: drive.google.com/file/d/1TRJUszK67cSNzv_8Qs4MzMzKsvV2Nh_K/view
Today we submitted a response to the National Infrastructure Planning Reform Programme consultation.
We are concerned that the consultation focuses on speed. Instead, we wish to see a system that:
- Involves communities through genuine engagement (a seat at the table, not just documentation review);
- Invites communities to consider the problem, not just the solution;
- Results in the 'right' outcome (right solution, right for the public purse, right for the environment);
- Prioritises the climate and biodiversity emergency.
The current system is too reliant on infrastructure projects that are proposed at a stage at which alternatives (that may be better for communities, the planet and the public purse) are not able to be considered.
The passing of the Environment Act provides the ideal opportunity to take a new approach. We must start by defining the problem, and then enable all stakeholders to discuss the full range of solutions.
Read our full submission here: drive.google.com/file/d/1Q5Posa9fih5GKXHOwBT0ryhgda92yYq5/view
The CPA has been supported by Andrew Jackson, Head of the Government's Joint Air Quality Unit (DfT/Defra) to develop a series of short events aimed at actively engaging member organisations and other community representatives in discussions about next steps in the campaign to drive improvements to air quality in the UK.
At today's event, the first of three sessions, our three distinguished speakers were:
- Andrew Jackson - Head of the Defra/DfT Joint Air Quality Task Force;
- Professor Roy Harrison (OBE, FRS) - University of Birmingham;
- Heather Henry (RN, BSc (Hons) Nursing, MBA, Queen's Nurse) - Founder of Breathchamps.
We discussed the debate to date, on targets for air pollution, the complexities, the range of pollutants, the impact on our health and wellbeing, and much more.
View the recording here: youtube.com/watch?v=WfE190MP0oc
Please Note: You can also view/download the slide presentation that accompanied this webinar by clicking here.
Examination in Public is the end game for campaigners, often after years of consultations and plan-making. Once you get to the ‘Reg 19’ consultation, or Draft Submission Plan, then you have only one audience: a Planning Inspector.
Getting your consultation response right at this stage is crucial because it determines whether you get a seat at the table or not. Preparation for the hearings is key – you need to think about hearing statements, your team and your strategy. This webinar will give you top-tips for this all-important stage of the planning process, with input from:
- Caroline Dibden, campaigner & CPA Secretary, who has survived the experience and won battles;
- Naomi Luhde-Thomson, planning expert at Rights : Community : Action.
This webinar is intended to help level the playing field. EiP’s are full of barristers and planning consultants. We hope it will help you to go into your Examination confident and fully prepared.
View the recording here: youtube.com/watch?v=44j_0rtY2XE&t=1s
We enjoyed a very interesting webinar today, with contributions from:
- Sophus zu Ermgassen, based at Kent University, who carried out research for his PhD which explored the ecological outcomes of mandatory Biodiversity Net Gain using evidence from early-adopter jurisdictions in England. He told us what he discovered ... and what community groups should look out for;
- Max Heaver, of Defra's Net Gain Policy and Legislation, Land Use Division, who spoke to us about his work and then took questions from the audience;
- Rosie Pearson, Chairman of the Community Planning Alliance, who talked through the responses to the CPA survey - whether people like BNG or loathe it, and what suggestions they have to improve it.
View the recording here: youtube.com/watch?v=AdUkwrRRnWU&t=7s
A recent Community Planning Alliance (CPA) survey found that an astonishing 52% of respondents believe that Government’s Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) proposals are very worrying or should be junked. Only 30% said BNG is a good, or quite a good idea, and 8.4% said it needs some changes. Chief concerns are:
- the destruction of habitat now, with only the hope of new habitat later;
- developers gaming the system;
- problems with monitoring and enforcement;
- and lack of Council expertise.
To improve the system, it was felt that there must be requirements for:
- an up-front delivery, monitoring & enforcement fund;
- additional funding and training for Local Planning Authorities;
- independent ecologists.
Better community involvement will be imperative. The following changes were considered necessary:
- a community right of second opinion (paid for by developer);
- right of veto for Wildlife Trusts or Natural England;
- rights for communities to request call-in by Natural England;
- duty to consult beyond the development.
Read the full report here: drive.google.com/file/d/15mai-8J8DE6NmO94lT3H20PorwKVIDOb/view
In this interesting presentation, followed by questions, we learned the importance of building and maintaining press relationships, or thinking of inventive, relevant and newsworthy angles, and of considering who you seek to influence and what your goal is. The five why's of headline writing (who, what, when, where, why) will prove useful for all those writing press releases, and we were reminded that local press is just as important (if not more important) than national press.
With big thanks to Ros Coward, journalist & writer, for sharing her top tips for campaigners dealing with the press.
View the recording here: youtube.com/watch?v=x1upJaOrNjc&t=232s
Today we submitted a response to the consultation, “Creating a vision for the Oxford-Cambridge Arc”.
We said that any future framework produced for the area needs to be evidence-led and community-driven, and must minimise damage to the environment.
If this consultation is to be genuine, with outcomes not already pre-decided, as indications in press coverage in recent years would lead one to believe, it must also consider seriously two further alternatives. One of those being a 'do-nothing' strategy of no spatial framework for the Arc, and the other, a spatial framework that delivers only local housing need and associated infrastructure.
Read our full response here: drive.google.com/file/d/1Osq1uc1q5vi2ND8UVBoZiFxFOKq9aaX4/view
The National Biodiversity Network have very kindly directed their supporters to our survey on Biodiversity Net Gain, which closes on October 30th.
News story highlighting some of the many areas of concern within Defra's proposed new Biodiversity Net Gain Metric.
Today we submitted a response to the House of Lords Built Environment Committee, which launched an inquiry on the demand for new housing in the UK and how barriers to meeting this demand can be overcome.
In summary we proposed that the inquiry should recommend the following actions:
- A review of the national housing target, with Census 2021 data as the trigger;
- That Government policy should deliver for housing need, not just demand, and for renters as well as home buyers, while investment in social housing must be prioritised;
- The need for far greater and more meaningful community participation, not less, across the planning system, so that outcomes are improved for everyone. And that genuine community participation should be a core component of all future planning policy, including mandatory referendums for Local Plans.
Read our full submission here: drive.google.com/file/d/19PHar3s2JwHgS1sLTUtFpdMIvZkkukVh/view
Today's webinar was presented by David Farnsworth, who has a professional background in planning and democratic participation for both the private and public sectors, and provided guidance on how to encourage our Councils to work with us.
View the recording here: youtube.com/watch?v=himPsYyaaHg&t=20s
Scientists discuss their fears that the proposed Biodiversity Net Gain rules are too easy to manipulate and difficult to enforce.
CPA speaks out on shocking report about the MOD inventing its own Biodiversity Net Gain rules, in order to make a plot of their land in Essex suitable for development.
Guest blog by David Farnsworth, who has a professional background in urban development, planning, and democratic participation for both the private and public sectors.
Read David's blog here: drive.google.com/file/d/1EXUlHIUt7XeGn2y3unrWq3ykka8Jooqs/view
Today we hosted our very first webinar, sharing top tips for developing a successful Neighbourhood Plan, followed by questions and answers from the audience.
Our speakers were CPA Committee Member, Simon Thomas, and Nick Stenning, both of whom survived the Neighbourhood Plan process in Hampshire and are here to tell the tale.
View the recording here: youtube.com/watch?v=XfDBU_KHoHQ
Manchester Green New Deal podcast on the friction between Planning and the Green Belt, with input from 3 of our Committee, Rosie Pearson, Marj Powner and Claire Baker.
Listen to the podcast here: buzzsprout.com/919177/8774669
Read our co-founder Rosie's Pearson's views about the planning system in this opinion piece for National World.
Our Grassroots Map received another mention in The Guardian today, with thanks again to Ros Coward.
Read Ros's article here: theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/may/26/springwatch-succour-souls-bbc-nature-threat-human-development
Community Planning Alliance got a mention in Planning Resource today, in strategic planner, Catriona Riddell's column. Thank you Catriona.
Read Catriona's column here: planningresource.co.uk/article/1714819/meet-challenges-posed-polarisation-local-politics-catriona-riddell
Our #votelocal #votepersonnotparty message has been shared far and wide, with pink posters spotted in Wales, Kent, Norfolk, Essex, Liverpool, Manchester and Devon!
Here's hoping it makes people stop and think before they head to their polling station today, because we need change if we're ever going to see an end to the current 'Build Build Build' policy.
The Community Planning Alliance has been featured in the Rights : Community : Action blog. Big thanks to the R:C:A team for drawing us to the attention of their supporters!
Read the blog here: rightscommunityaction.co.uk/latest-news/new-campaigning-alliance-and-map-launched
Our rapidly growing Grassroots Map got its first mention in the press today. In the Guardian, no less. Huge thanks to Ros Coward for highlighting us!
Read the article here: theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/apr/04/uk-environmental-protest-developers