Following a lively and well received fringe event at the Labour Party Conference, the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) will today bring together representatives from over 50 organisations across the European Union to highlight the importance of building the capacity of local authorities to plan and deliver sustainable energy solutions, and the strengthening of the crucial link between spatial planners and energy experts at the local level.
The TCPA will lead a series of workshops and plenary sessions in Brescia, Italy aimed at sharing experiences and exchanging essential best practice, as attendees from across the European Union seek to build their capacity and understanding of planning and delivering renewable energy solutions in their own local authorities and regions.
Kate Henderson, TCPA Chief Executive, said:
“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 seek to build the capacity of UK local authorities to deliver important local renewable energy projects.”
The event will be held as part of the IEE (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.
Diane Smith, TCPA Head of European Affairs:
“The integration of planning and energy at the local level is well established in many European countries, notably Germany and Sweden, and the workshops in Italy provide a valuable opportunity for the TCPA not only to share UK experience but to gain more knowledge of practical solutions and the social and political drivers which can be activated to effect change.”
“The TCPA is encouraged by the progress that has already been made on the SPECIAL project, and believe that SPECIAL will help to deliver not just a more sustainable future, but also enable communities to reap the positive economic benefits that local energy projects can bring.”
The TCPA in partnership with the SPECIAL project and APSE Energy held a fringe event at the Labour Party 2014 autumn conference which called on councils from across the country to seize on the opportunity of raising income through delivering locally-led renewable energy projects. The event featured high profile speakers including Shadow Local Government Minister Andy Sawford MP, and Dr Alan Whitehead, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group.
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