Why Lo­cal Plan won’t se­cure our fu­tures

Leicester Mercury - - Mailbox -

ON Fri­day, at 11.15am, Cli­mate Ac­tion will hold a brief six-per­son demon­stra­tion out­side City Hall be­fore hand­ing in a pe­ti­tion based on the poli­cies we want to see in the next draft of the city coun­cil’s Lo­cal Plan.

Hun­dreds of peo­ple in Le­ices­ter have signed this pe­ti­tion be­cause they des­per­ately want to see Le­ices­ter re­duce its car­bon emis­sions and prepare for cli­mate change so its ef­fects on us are not dev­as­tat­ing.

En­sur­ing we de­velop sus­tain­ably is an es­sen­tial part of this, and at the mo­ment this Lo­cal Plan does lit­tle to prepare for, or min­imise, what is to come.

It con­tains some good start points, but so far it is weak and lacks teeth. It needs spe­cific stan­dards and tar­gets; built-in im­prove­ments to these over time; ways to mea­sure the ef­fec­tive­ness of these poli­cies and mech­a­nisms to com­pel ac­tion.

The next 15 years are key in ad­dress­ing cli­mate change and this plan, which cov­ers the same time pe­riod, cur­rently fails to grasp the ur­gency and spirit of the times.

Ex­am­ples of poli­cies which should be in the Lo­cal Plan, but aren’t, in­clude the fol­low­ing:

■ Spe­cific re­quire­ments for new build­ings and re­de­vel­op­ments of older build­ings to be deeply en­ergy ef­fi­cient.

Re­quire­ment for max­imi­sa­tion of re­new­able en­ergy gen­er­a­tion in new build­ing de­vel­op­ments and spe­cific land al­lo­ca­tion for so­lar and wind farms to pro­vide clean green en­ergy for the city to help us re­duce our car­bon foot­print.

Spe­cific land al­lo­ca­tion for mass tree plant­ing, es­pe­cially food trees, to ab­sorb car­bon and act to re­duce flood­ing and heat­waves lo­cally while increasing lo­cal food se­cu­rity.

Trans­port and de­vel­op­ment poli­cies which, given the ne­ces­sity of tack­ling in­equal­ity, im­prov­ing health and re­duc­ing car­bon emis­sions, com­mit the coun­cil to pri­ori­tis­ing pub­lic and ac­tive trans­port over car use and in­clude applying for a bus fran­chise.

Higher hous­ing den­si­ties re­quire­ments and higher af­ford­able hous­ing re­quire­ments, es­pe­cially af­ford­able rental hous­ing, in order to ad­dress the hous­ing needs of those who will suf­fer most as cli­mate change takes, while re­duc­ing the loss of green spa­ces needed to re­duce the im­pacts of cli­mate change.

Le­ices­ter Cli­mate Ac­tion

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