Monday, March 29, 2010

Climate change fears must inform planning

Isabel Hardman in Inside Housing (UK): The government must make adaptation to climate change central to the planning system to ensure new homes can cope with increased risk of flooding, an influential group of MPs has said. In a report from the Environmental Audit Committee, MPs say adapting to climate change needs to become as much of a priority for the government as cutting emissions. They also call for a comprehensive retrofitting programme to make existing homes ready for the effects of climate change through increased energy and water efficiency adaptations.

Spending on flood defences to protect homes must rise from its current level of around £600 million each year to around £1 billion in 2035, the reports states. The committee said new homes currently being planned and built must be designed to cope with climate change, and planners should refuse developments which are not suited to future climate conditions. It also said the government needs to do more to raise awareness of the importance of preparing for a changing climate.

Committee chair Tim Yeo said: ‘For a long time the climate change debate has focused on reducing carbon emissions, but adapting to the inevitable impacts of rising global temperatures is equally critical. We must act now to protect people, property and prosperity and safeguard the natural environment. Delay will only impose greater costs on future generations. The government must be imaginative and establish new and sustainable sources of funding and support for adaptation.’

Always in the market for a snug, dry treehouse. Shot by Waldir, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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