Environmental committee wants climate change rules

MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee have demanded planning changes to take into account climate change risks and retrofitting of flood protection to existing homes in a report out today called Adapting to Climate Change.

“The planning system has a key role in adapting the built environment. New developments should only be approved if they are suited to future climates and do not increase risks to others, the report out this morning says.

“Developers should be required to make a greater contribution to improving the general resilience, and thus the sustainability, of communities.”

Homes must be retrofitted

“While the planning system addresses new homes, existing homes also need to be adapted so they are habitable and comfortable during hotter summers and better protected against the increasing risk of flooding, the report says.

“The Government should strengthen incentives for people to adapt their properties and should help them take action. Local agencies should be enabled to provide integrated retrofitting programmes covering adaptation, water efficiency and energy efficiency.

“Since 2008, the Government has made good progress in laying the foundations for action on adaptation. The Government must build on current momentum and encourage and support all levels of government, business and the general public to respond to climate change risks.

“Uncertainty over the impacts of climate change is not a reason for inaction or delay. The country needs to respond flexibly to the risks we face. The Government will need to move quickly to strengthen its new policy framework if it does not lead to the urgent action that is now required. It is vital that we give much more attention to adaptation.”