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Special - Spatial Planning and Energy for Communities in All Landscapes Town and Country Planning Association European Union

Press Releases

Oct 2015

Planning and Delivering renewable energy solutions: What Lessons can we learn from Europe?

The energy market is currently undergoing a period of intense uncertainty.  Here in the UK, our towns and cities are facing the worsening and ever present threat of climate change, while local authorities are also faced with severe budget cuts.  If we are to have any chance of mitigating the devastating impacts of climate change, we must strive to find ways of securing more energy and from less carbon intensive sources, and work to meet the European Union’s targets to generate 20 percent of energy with renewables by 2020.

Representatives from the SPECIAL project will today give keynote speeches to the European Council of Spatial Planners Biennale: Technology in Planning Practice, Making Cities work in Dublin stressing the strong link between spatial planning and renewable energy solutions highlighting the vital role that planning can play in addressing issues such as climate change and challenging energy targets.

Speakers will additionally highlight how experiences, knowledge and essential best practice can be exchanged through European counterparts within the built environment sector as we strive to deliver renewable energy solutions. 

Diane Smith, Head of European Affairs at the TCPA said:
“The integration of spatial planning and energy at the local level is recognised and well established in many European countries.  The SPECIAL project is offering an opportunity for us to share experiences and gain knowledge from our European counterparts. We must seek to use this shared knowledge and build the capacity of our planners and local authorities to deliver the important local renewable energy projects that our town and cities desperately need.”  

The two-day event is part of the Intelligent Energy Europe funded project SPECIAL (Spatial Planning and Energy for Communities in All Landscapes), led by the TCPA, which was launched in 2013. SPECIAL is a partnership between eight Town Planning Associations (TPAs) across Europe in the UK, Sweden, Ireland, Hungary, Italy, Greece, Germany and Austria, and aims to help the TPAs of the partner countries meet the EU’s challenging energy and climate change targets for 2020.

The event will also see the launch of an “expert paper” produced by the Irish Planning Institute which is designed to highlight the experiences of South Dublin County Council in developing evidence based climate change mitigation policies for local plans and strategies.

Dr Hugh Ellis, Head of Policy at the TCPA said:
“The reality of climate change is stark, and the effects are already being felt across the globe.  Planning has a significant role to play in meeting the adaptation challenge, however it is vital that we take immediate action and do all in our power to ensure that communities across the nations are prepared to deal with the devastating impacts of extreme weather conditions.”

“Developing positive renewable energy solutions is a vital approach to creating and sustaining low carbon communities and garden cities. However, with local authorities facing budget cuts and energy insecurity, it is a challenging time for the UK energy market.  Planners and planning are instrumental in meeting this challenge and it is vital that we seize the opportunity to share best practice and exchange experiences from across Europe as we strive to deliver a more sustainable future.”

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