Helping communities tackle the causes of climate change and prepare for its effects

2 November 2015

CSE’s project to support groups to develop low carbon neighbourhood plans is gaining steam.

“We’ve been promoting the idea of using neighbourhood planning as a tool to understand and engage with the resilience issues facing communities, resulting from climate change, rising energy costs and other stresses. This is gathering traction with local communities, councils and other planning bodies,” said CSE’s Dan Stone, a former town planner.

The need for neighbourhood planning

Having spoken with many community groups, we’ve learned worries about flooding, fuel poverty, walking and cycling provision, and local service provision generally are widespread. Many of these issues relate to the causes and consequences of climate change, and can strongly influence the quality of life in communities.

Funding cuts and an increased preoccupation of central government with house building mean that local councils are less able to act on these issues. Neighbourhood planning is an opportunity for communities to understand the problems they face and develop locally appropriate solutions which improve their resilience and quality of life.

How we've helped so far

In September, we delivered a workshop for groups in Warwickshire on the themes in our guidebook, exploring the resilience issues they face, and the policies they could adopt, including those to support renewable energy.

In October, we gave a more focused presentation to the Newton and Noss neighbourhood planning group in South Devon that explored particular concerns about flooding and water quality in the Yealm Estuary, the protection of local services, pedestrian infrastructure and energy efficiency. And we’re also supporting Yealm Community Energy, a Community Benefit Society that provides energy services to local people and which is seeking planning permission for a community owned solar farm from South Hams District Council.

Image: Site of the proposed Yealm Community Energy Solar Farm. Profits from this development would fund energy efficiency improvements to existing housing in the parish and other community services

We are now planning workshops in West Devon, Totnes and Cumbria in the next few months. If you would like to host a similar event, or if you would like free advice in respect of your neighbourhood plan, please contact (0117 934 1428) or (0117 9341469).

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