Climate resilience in local plans

Think tank: Localis

Author(s): Sandy Forsyth

March 8, 2023

This report from UK think tank Localis looks at adaptation and mitigation in local development as councils adapt to widespread flooding.

As climate shifts worldwide, councils across England are being hit by increasingly extreme weather patterns including violent storm surges, unbearable temperatures, and widespread flooding. At the level of place, our local authorities are best situated to understand and to act upon individual resilience requirements from city to country to coast. However, the current funding landscape for local government to deliver resilient places is far too piecemeal and insufficient. Furthermore, the system is overwrought with complexity – the division of responsibilities between local, central government and industry are too fragmented and disconnected for this to be addressed as a whole place agenda. For these reasons, Localis proposes the codification, consolidation and strengthening of local authorities role through a Local Resilience Act. Climate resilience in local plans is the first in a series looking at various dimensions of a Local Resilience Act and begins with the basic question of what impact duties placed on local government of the kind proposed have on the outcomes of local development plans. Local Plans form the backbone of the planning system and the basis for development across the country, providing the requirements that must be met whenever planning permission is sought for new development. As such, Local Plans can play a substantial role in the country’s response to climate change: the National Planning Policy Framework holds planning authorities responsible for ensuring climate commitments are met, including biodiversity goals and improving the usage of renewable and low-carbon energy sources.