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

Press Releases

Dec 2014

We must act immediately to save our communities from the catastrophic threat of climate change

Climate change is already causing 300,000 deaths and economic loses of US$125 billion each year across the globe¹.  The impacts of extreme weather events, from flooding to droughts, disproportionately affects those most vulnerable in society particularly in developing countries.  Economically advanced nations, such as the UK, are also experiencing the physical, social and environmental effects of climate change, and as last year's floods across England demonstrate, we must improve the resilience of our cities, towns and countryside. Left unchecked, these effects will intensify, doing irreversible damage to some of our most valued ecosystems and landscapes - as well as damage to the infrastructure and social fabric of our towns and cities.

Today, at Planning Magazine’s Planning for Energy and Environment Conference, the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) will call on Government and communities alike to take urgent action to address the threat of climate change, outlining how we can plan for a changing environment drawing upon best practice examples from across Europe.

Ahead of the conference Kate Henderson, TCPA Chief Executive, said:
“Climate change is without a doubt one of the most significant challenges that we are facing today, and communities are already feeling the devastating impacts of extreme weather conditions. Furthermore, in the era of local authority budget cuts, and energy insecurity, the UK energy market is facing a particularly challenging time.”

“Developing positive renewable energy solutions is fundamental to the social and economic wellbeing of our society, however, this must go alongside efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change and secure our collective future through adaptation measures.”

The content of the conference is closely linked with the TCPA led IEE (Intelligent Energy Europe) funded project SPECIAL (Spatial Planning and Energy for Communities in All Landscapes. SPECIAL which was launched in 2013 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.

Through exchanging best practice and experience, planning organisations in each member country will seek to build their own capacity and understanding before rolling out training to other ‘multiplier’ organisations in their own country. These will include over 40 organisations, representing thousands of town planners in Europe, drawn from over 700 municipalities.  The project on completion is expected to have helped to build the capacity and understanding of planning and delivering renewable energy solutions competency for over 15,000 town planners across Europe.

Kate Henderson added:

“As the SPECIAL project has demonstrated, planning and planners are instrumental in meeting the challenge of climate change, and the integration of planning and energy at the local level is already well established in many other European countries.
We must seize the opportunity to work together, and share best practice and exchange experiences from across Europe as we strive to deliver a more sustainable future.”