Adapting to Climate Change at the Local Level: The Spatial Planning Response

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [University of Calgary]On: 25 September 2013, At: 20:49Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registeredoffice: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK</p><p>Local Environment: The InternationalJournal of Justice and SustainabilityPublication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information:</p><p>Adapting to Climate Change at theLocal Level: The Spatial PlanningResponseElizabeth Wilson aa Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UKPublished online: 23 Jan 2007.</p><p>To cite this article: Elizabeth Wilson (2006) Adapting to Climate Change at the Local Level:The Spatial Planning Response, Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice andSustainability, 11:6, 609-625, DOI: 10.1080/13549830600853635</p><p>To link to this article:</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (theContent) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor &amp; Francis,our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as tothe accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinionsand views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors,and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor &amp; Francis. The accuracy of the Contentshould not be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sourcesof information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses, actions, claims,proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoeveror howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to orarising out of the use of the Content.</p><p>This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Anysubstantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing,systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms &amp;Conditions of access and use can be found at</p></li><li><p>ARTICLE</p><p>Adapting to Climate Change at theLocal Level: The Spatial Planning</p><p>Response</p><p>ELIZABETH WILSON</p><p>Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK</p><p>ABSTRACT Climate change is a major issue for all levels of government, global, nationaland local. Local authorities responses to climate change have tended to concentrate ontheir role in reducing greenhouse gases. However, the scientific consensus is that we alsoneed to adapt to unavoidable climate change. Spatial planning at a local level has acritical anticipatory role to play in promoting robust adaptation. This paper reviewsthe shift in local authorities planning policies for climate change adaptation in the UKsince 2000, and provides evidence of underlying attitudes amongst planningprofessionals to climate change. It shows that, while the issue of climate change isbecoming recognized with respect to flood risk, the wider implications (for instance,for biodiversity and water resources) are not yet integrated into plans. The reasons forthis lie in lack of political support and lack of engagement of the planning professionwith climate change networks. But the paper also argues there are difficulties inacknowledging the need for adaptation at the local level, with the short-term horizonsof local plans at odds with perceptions of the long-term implications of climate change.</p><p>Introduction</p><p>Climate change is a serious issue facing the international, national and localcommunities. The issue has gained a high political salience amongst poli-ticians and scientists, such as at the G8 summit in 2005. Public awareness</p><p>Local EnvironmentVol. 11, No. 6, 609625, December 2006</p><p>Correspondence Address: Elizabeth Wilson, Department of Planning, School of Built Environ-ment, Oxford Brookes University, Gipsy Lane, Oxford, OX3 0BP, UK. Email:</p><p>1354-9839 Print=1469-6711 Online=06=060609-17 # 2006 Taylor &amp; FrancisDOI: 10.1080=13549830600853635</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [U</p><p>nivers</p><p>ity of</p><p> Calg</p><p>ary] a</p><p>t 20:4</p><p>9 25 S</p><p>eptem</p><p>ber 2</p><p>013 </p></li><li><p>is also high: a Eurobarometer study (Commission of European Communities[CEC], 2005) found that people regarded climate change as one of the fourenvironmental problems about which they were most worried.</p><p>Action to deal with climate change involves all levels of governance.National governments, as signatories to the Kyoto Protocol, have legallybinding commitments to reduce carbon and other greenhouse gases, andaccordingly much of the public sector response has been to focus on measuresto reduce these emissions. Local authorities, in their roles as local communityleaders, decision-makers, employers, and providers or procurers of servicesand goods, have a critical role to play in emissions reduction. Actionsinclude the adoption of energy efficiency in their own buildings and services,the promotion of spatial and transport planning policies to reduce the need totravel, and planning policies for energy-efficient development and morerenewable energy sources (Agyeman et al., 1998).</p><p>However, a number of studies have shown the limitations and barriers experi-enced by local governments in implementing these actions, despite their partici-pation in transnational and national networks such as the International Councilfor Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEIs) Cities for Climate ProtectionCampaign. These barriers include lack of professional, technical or politicalsupport (Allman et al., 2004; Davies, 2005); lack of powers or other resources;the dominance of other conventional policy objectives (Bulkeley &amp; Betsill,2003; 2005); or, more fundamentally, the misframing of the problem as onethat can be solved at local level (Lindseth, 2004).</p><p>But while action to reduce the causes of climate change is important, the evi-dence indicates that climate change is already happening (European Environ-ment Agency [EEA], 2004; Department of the Environment, Transport andthe Regions [DETR], 2000; UK Climate Impacts Programme [UKCIP],2003). Because of lags in the system, even if effective programmes to reducethe causes of climate change are implemented, globally and locally, thereare likely to be significant unavoidable changes up to the middle of thiscentury. This paper briefly describes the likely impacts of climate change inthe UK, and their implications for the land uses, activities and policy areasover which land use and spatial planning intervenes. It highlights the potentialrole of planning authorities in responding to climate change, and reviews theevidence for any changing response in development plans across the UK overthe period 20002005. It also draws on the findings of a survey of the atti-tudes of planning professionals (Arkell et al., 2004). The paper then considersthe extent to which some of the barriers identified in the literature for emis-sions reduction may also apply to adaptive measures at the local level.</p><p>Impacts of Climate Change in the UK</p><p>The UK governments Climate Change Programme (UKCCP) argues thatthe climate is already changing (with average global temperatures rising by0.68C over the 20th century). There have been increasingly frequent summerheatwaves, fewer frosts, wetter winters, and rises in sea level (DETR, 2000).The UK government has taken this evidence seriously, and in 1997 had</p><p>610 E. Wilson</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [U</p><p>nivers</p><p>ity of</p><p> Calg</p><p>ary] a</p><p>t 20:4</p><p>9 25 S</p><p>eptem</p><p>ber 2</p><p>013 </p></li><li><p>already set up the UK Climate Impacts Programme to coordinate an assessmentof how climate change will affect the UK, and to assist organizations in devel-oping adaptation strategies. UKCIP has published estimates of likely futurechanges based on scenarios developed by the Hadley Centre for a range of emis-sions levels for the 2020s, 2050s and 2080s. The latest scenarios show that theUK will become warmer: annual average temperatures across the UK may riseby between 28C and 3.58C. The expected impacts of climate change on the UKinclude more frequent warm summers, wetter winters (but with less snowfall inScotland), drier summers everywhere, and continuing sea-level rises, particu-larly in southeast England (Hulme et al., 2002).</p><p>The consequences include risks of flooding (fluvial, coastal andintra-urban); erosion and subsidence; water shortages and reduced soilmoisture; changes in species and habitat distribution; exacerbation of theurban heat island effect; deterioration in air quality; and an increase inheat-related deaths and other health impacts (UKCIP, 2003). UKCIP has com-missioned or been involved in a number of studies on particular sectoral andpublic policy aspects, such as biodiversity (Hossell et al., 2000), health (ExpertGroup on Climate Change and Health in the UK, 2001), water (Downinget al., 2003), gardening (Bisgrove &amp; Hadley, 2002) and buildings, infrastruc-ture, urban areas and the historic environment (Graves &amp; Phillipson, 2000;Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council [EPSRC], 2003). Otherorganizations have published studies on the rural economy (Country Landand Business Association [CLA], 2001), the construction industry (Vivianet al., 2005), insurance (Crichton, 2001) and internal thermal comfort(Hacker et al., 2005; Roaf et al., 2004). This extensive array of reportscovers aspects of society which critically affect, or are affected by, the activitiesand land uses that are the subject of local authorities spatial planning policies.</p><p>Adaptation: The Role of Spatial Planning</p><p>A number of government reports have therefore identified the planning systemas a key public policy area to anticipate and prevent adverse impacts, and totake advantage of any opportunities it might bring. Building climate changeconsiderations into planning processes and systems allows early action,which should be more cost-effective than responding to changes as theyhappen or retrospectively. A key study concluded that there is a need tomake such planning explicit, and to raise awareness in strategic and local plan-ning decision-making (Environmental Resources Management [ERM], 2000).</p><p>The report recognized that there would be some direct and indirect costs ofincorporating climate assessment into planning, with possible impacts onland and property prices, or increased construction, development and insur-ance costs. But it argued that these costs would be considerably less than thedo nothing option.</p><p>The UKCCP accordingly identified land use and strategic sectoral planningas one of the main ways for minimizing the impacts of climate change, andmade clear that local government was one of the key players in developingadaptation responses. One of the commitments in the Programme was to</p><p>Adapting to Climate Change at Local Level 611</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [U</p><p>nivers</p><p>ity of</p><p> Calg</p><p>ary] a</p><p>t 20:4</p><p>9 25 S</p><p>eptem</p><p>ber 2</p><p>013 </p></li><li><p>issue a best practice advice guide to planning authorities and others involvedin land use planning on how to respond to climate change (DETR, 2000). Thegovernment and the Devolved Administrations commissioned a study in2000 to research the awareness of planning and to draft advice to plannersat all levels. For a variety of reasons (discussed in Wilson, 2006), this wasnot published until the autumn of 2004 (Office of the Deputy Prime Minister[ODPM], 2004). Part of the research for that study consisted of a survey in2000 of 14 local development plans across the UK, and interviews with plan-ning officers from those planning authorities. As the issue of climate changehas been very much in the public domain since then, and a variety of otherguidance has been made available to local planning authorities, this paperexamines the changes in the treatment of the adaptation issue in developmentplans as they have been revised and replaced over the period.</p><p>Adaptation in Development Plan Policy 20002005</p><p>The development plans were selected to reflect a number of criteria: thediverse local government structures in the UK, including the DevolvedAdministrations (Scotland and Wales), the nine different regions ofEngland, and the range of development plan types (local and strategic);and geographical characteristics and locations (such as coastal or inland;metropolitan, urban or more rural). Table 1 indicates the type of localauthority, and their membership of climate change policy networks.Table 2 shows the initial sample of 14 plans, and the status of any current(2005) replacement. Many of the plans reviewed in 2000 had been draftedand prepared over a fairly lengthy period, but had been able to respond tochanging national planning policy guidance for Scotland, England andWales (increasingly over the late 1990s separate national guidance wasbeing issued for the Devolved Administrations [Tewdwr-Jones, 2002]).Policy guidance had promoted changes such as the reuse of brownfieldsites, sequential tests for housing and retail land use allocations, andchanges in transport objectives such as the commitment to reducing theneed to travel. It might therefore be expected that the plan revisions or replace-ments some five years later would show a similar response to the higherprofile and greater urgency of the need to adapt to climate change, asshown in the commitments of the UK Climate Change Programme and thepublications and support of the UKCIP.</p><p>The key criteria employed for the review cover topics typically foundwithin local development plans in the UK (Rydin, 2003): many commencewith an overview of the context for the plan, and include policies onhousing, employment and transport, with consideration of implementationand monitoring. Plans provide supportive argument for their strategicpolicies or local land use proposals. They include sections on the naturalenvironment, including flood risk, water resources, biodiversity and thewider landscape; energy issues tend to fall within natural resources or thebuilt environment.</p><p>612 E. Wilson</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [U</p><p>nivers</p><p>ity of</p><p> Calg</p><p>ary] a</p><p>t 20:4</p><p>9 25 S</p><p>eptem</p><p>ber 2</p><p>013 </p></li><li><p>Table 1. Sample of local authorities, and membership of climate change policy networks</p><p>Local authority</p><p>DevolvedAdministration or</p><p>region TypeaMembership of climatechange policy network</p><p>Council climatechange strategy or</p><p>policy</p><p>East, North and South AyrshireCouncils</p><p>Scotland Unitaryauthorities</p><p>Stirling Council Scotland Unitary authorityNewport City Council Wales Unitary authorityNewcastle City Council North East Unitary authority Nottingham Declaration Energy strategySouth Lakeland District</p><p>CouncilNorth West District</p><p>City of York Council Yorkshire andHumber</p><p>Unitary authority Nottingham Declaration</p><p>Warwickshire County Council West Midlands Shire county CCPb; NottinghamDeclaration</p><p>Peak District National ParkAuthority</p><p>East Midlands National Parkauthority</p><p>City of Leicester Council East Midlands Unitary authority CCP Energy strategyKings Lynn and West Norfolk</p><p>Borough CouncilEast of England District</p><p>West Sussex County Council South East Shire countySouthampton City Council South...</p></li></ul>