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Towards a more democratic and climate friendly way of meeting housing need across England

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What communities can do[edit]

  • demand that government and politicians at all levels of government tell the truth about the carbon cost of new housing development.
  • demand a more democratic system of meeting housing need
  • demand a system which allows local communities to consider environmental carrying capacity and carbon costs of development, and enables them to influence the level of development to align with national and local carbon reduction targets
  • support and encourage local politicians and other commentators who speak up against the undemocratic nature of the existing planning system
  • form alliances to advocate for a more democratic and climate friendly planning system, for example of all areas concerned about overdevelopment, or regional alliances
  • find and work with developers who explicitly concern themselves with the needs and wishes of local communities as determined and expressed by those local communities themselves, and more sustainable forms of housing
  • advocate that 'objectively assessed housing need', a phrase designed to impart a false and inappropriate sense of 'authority', and to cover up what are essentially political choices, be replaced with 'democratically assessed housing need'.
  • demand better data, more transparency and better exposition of relevant data, such as the size and age composition of migration flows, and better measures of genuinely affordable and sustainable housing.

Campaigns[edit]

  • Enough is enough - Maidstone's Housing & Infrastructure, petition against housebuilding levels in Maidstone via cprekent.org.uk, added 17:18, 18 February 2020 (UTC)

see also News and comment

Why it matters[edit]

"In the UK, the built environment as a whole is responsible for 42% of national emissions. The manner in which we produce, operate and renew our built environment continues to curtail biodiversity, pollute ecosystems and encourage unsustainable lifestyles." Architects Climate Action Network

"an absolutely groundbreaking result for climate justice".
"This judgment has exciting wider implications for keeping climate change at the heart of all planning decisions.
"It's time for developers and public authorities to be held to account when it comes to the climate impact of their damaging developments." Will Rundle, head of legal at the campaign group, Friends of the Earth, in response to Feb 27 Climate campaigners win Heathrow expansion case [1]

"The problems of housing affect most of us. The solutions need to involve all of us, too." Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the Royal Society of Arts, 2015 [2]

The carbon costs of new housing developments[edit]

New housing development has carbon costs from both the construction and use of the development.

It is arguable that the present system of carbon accounting does not adequately show, and make transparent, particularly to local communities affected, these carbon costs.

Given that Local plans cover several future years, this is especially of concern in the 2020's decade when as a nation, and as local communities, we should be reducing carbon costs.

The carbon costs associated with use of new housing developments has typically in recent years continued to lock us into, for the 2020's decade, yet more car dependency, when its clear we should be and should have been, promoting more sustainable means of transport.

Disempowered communities?[edit]

Under the present (eg as at Jan 2020) planning system local authorities and communities are effectively dictated to by central government over the housing provision they are required to make via Local Plans. Not only this but those that refuse to plan for the central government numbers are threatened with even higher numbers being imposed.

Concerning the level of housing provision local communities are expected to make, any climate concerns local communities may have are not in any way catered for in the Local plan system. Central governments position that climate concerns are irrelevant looks particularly perverse, even in the light of its own climate change legislation.

Citizens assemblies focused on housing[edit]

In recent years citizen's assemblies have been proposed as a potential solution to dealing with divisive and highly-politicised issues such as same-sex marriage, abortion, and decarbonisation measures.

The citizens’ assembly aims to reinstall trust in the political process by taking direct ownership of decision-making. To that end, citizens' assemblies intend to remedy the "divergence of interests" that arises between elected representatives and the electorate, as well as "a lack in deliberation in legislatures."

The global environmental movement Extinction Rebellion has called for citizen's assemblies on climate change to be used by governments to make decisions on climate and environmental justice. In the UK, Extinction Rebellion's 3rd demand is: 'government must create and be led by the decisions of a citizens’ assembly on climate and ecological justice.' W

Citizens assemblies focused on housing would aim to tackle housing need and fair, equitable and sustainable housing provision consistent with both carbon reduction targets and environmental carrying capacity of regions.

An England citizens assembly[edit]

An England citizens assembly could, with appropriate expert advice, consider national and regional housing need, fair and proportionate carbon reduction targets for housebuilding, ways of meeting housing need more sustainably at less carbon cost, and the environmental carrying capacity of regions.

Citizens, communities and government must insist that the housebuilding sector take full responsibility for its fair and proportionate share of carbon reduction as this is the best way to ensure that the transition to zero carbon is as fair as possible to all sections of society.

Regional citizens assemblies[edit]

Regional citizens assemblies could then follow a similar process to determine fair and reasonable targets for housebuilding across their region, again informed by carbon reduction targets and environmental carrying capacity of bioregions. In subsequent iterations of the planning cycle, the experience, concerns and expertise of regional citizens assemblies would feed back into the next national citizens assembly.

Community-led housing in the UK[edit]

In the UK, community-led housing currently constitutes less than 1% of housing stock. There have been attempts to stimulate increased growth, with mixed results. The most commonly known forms of community-led housing include: community land trusts, housing cooperatives, self–build, cohousing, and self-help housing. A range of legal models are in use in the UK to enable the delivery of community-led schemes. There is currently no legal definition of community-led housing. A draft definition was developed and presented for discussion in the House of Lords in March 2016 in relation to the Housing and Planning Act, where it was not progressed. W

News and comment[edit]

2020

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May 11 Kent: CPRE Kent backs Sevenoaks District Council’s decision to begin judicial review proceedings in its challenge to the Planning Inspectorate [3]

Allotments - geograph.org.uk Sheffield.jpg

Apr 22 Towards sustainable economies UK: This Pandemic Bears Gifts – new possibilities for economic transition [4]

Mar 12 Government plans "to bring Britain’s planning system into the 21st century" [5] Planning for the future, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, March 2020. Para. 16, p 9 & para 22, p 11, refer to targets on decarbonisation, but no indication that communities themselves will be able to democratically influence amounts of new housing for their areas, and in relation to local climate reduction targets or environmental carrying capacity of their areas.

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Feb 10 Kent: Gravesham residents form group to fight council's housing proposals, CPRE Kent [6]

Jan 28 Kent: Maidstone councillors of all political colours call on Government to ease housing targets [7]

Jan 21 New UK housing 'dominated by roads' [8] "... too many highways engineers are still approving roads that do not fully account for pedestrians and cyclists." Prof Matthew Carmona, University College London. Government poll suggests 76% of people think that for the sake of the environment, everyone should reduce their driving.

Kent1.jpg

Jan 20 Kent: Sevenoaks sticks to its guns and refuses to withdraw draft Local Plan from examination, CPRE Kent [9] Council leader Peter Fleming: “It is clear to me the way this has been handled calls into question the integrity of the whole Plan-making system in this country… “To call into question an evidence-led approach comes to the root of our concerns with the actions of the inspector. If we are not to follow the evidence to make our Plan then the government may just as well dictate how many homes an area should have and then pick sites, we need to put an end to the thinly veiled charade that Local Plans are in any way locally led.”

2019

Oct 28 The housing crisis is at the heart of our national nervous breakdown, John Harris [10]

Lily2.jpg

Oct 7 Biodiversity UK: Sir David Attenborough calls for new planning laws to protect nature [11]

Oct 3 More than a quarter of UK mammals face extinction [12]

Jun 12 ‘Filled to bursting with trees, woods and nature reserves’: greening the Green Belt by Friends of the Earth Innovation team [13]

Feb 4 Green Belt: the development pressure ramps up again [14]

2018

If we value rural Britain, we can’t build houses all over it, Simon Jenkins, Aug 6 [15]

2017

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Kent targeted to take huge housing hit, Sep 27 [16]

Households in southern England urged to save water after dry winter, May 5 [17]

2015

Set up to fail, November 16 [18]

Resources[edit]

Networks[edit]

  • Data for Democracy, consider joining a network such as this to work on transparency of data and fair and reasonable estimates or projections of local housing need across the UK, particularly if concerned about Overdevelopment across the South, imbalance between North/South. If anyone interested... I'd love to hear from you Philralph (talk) 07:12, 5 January 2019 (PST)

Policies[edit]

Video[edit]

See also[edit]

Interwiki links[edit]

Drought in the United Kingdom W, 2009 Great Britain and Ireland floods W

External links[edit]


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References

This page includes Creative Commons Licensed content from the Sustainable community action wiki on Wikia.
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