Planning decisions should be compatible with climate targets - reaction

• Climate goals requirement could have avoided Whitehaven coal mine fiasco 
  Published:  24 Jun 2021    |      1 minute read

The Committee on Climate Change’s call today for planning decisions to be compatible with UK climate targets has been welcomed by Friends of the Earth.

In its annual progress report to Parliament the UK government’s climate advisor says “a Net Zero Test would ensure that all Government policy, including planning decisions, is compatible with UK climate targets.”

Friends of the Earth’s planning campaigner, Magnus Gallie, said:

“We won’t fix the climate crisis if the planning system continues to give carbon-guzzling developments the green light.

“It beggars belief that recent planning applications for oil and coal projects have only considered the climate impact of extracting the fuel – and not the far bigger problem caused when the fuel is actually used, such as in the steel making process.

“The ongoing fiasco around the Whitehaven coal mine might have been avoided if planning rules included a legal requirement to take binding UK climate targets into account, as we’ve been arguing for a long time.

“Ministers must end their half-baked approach to the climate emergency and introduce tighter legislation, policy and guidance to bring the planning system into line with net-zero requirements before it’s too late.”


1. The Climate Change Committee  (CCC) is an independent, statutory body established under the Climate Change Act 2008. Its purpose is to advise the UK and devolved governments on emissions targets and to report to Parliament on progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for and adapting to the impacts of climate change.

2. THE CCC progress report to Parliament was published today.

3. In addition, the Blueprint coalition (which consists of local government organisations, academic institutions as well as NGOs) is also calling for the planning system to ensure that the housing and associated infrastructure that is needed is delivered in a way that is compatible with a net zero future and nature’s recovery. To facilitate this, local planning authorities (LPAs) will need to be supported by robust national planning law, policy and guidance – including legal alignment with the net zero target.