The Welsh government’s draft National Development Framework (NDF) is a “welcome start” to efforts to combat climate change, but it must be supported by stronger evidence, detail, and clarity to guide decisions, says Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Cymru.
The planning body says it recognises the challenge of having to achieve a sustainable pattern of development for the longer term while considering the climate-change agenda.
However, it believes the Welsh government has missed an opportunity to “push boundaries”, pointing out that the NDF must provide the context and evidence for taking difficult national decisions and informing long-term investment goals.
Director of RTPI Cymru Dr Roisin Willmott OBE FRTPI said: “In order to start to address the issues surrounding climate change, RTPI Cymru believes that we need a framework that can guide a behavioural change across the industry in the way that we approach planning and developing the places we live, work, and enjoy.
“A more ambitious NDF will enable infrastructure decisions to be better integrated to support existing and new development, while taking into account climate change mitigation, adaptation and sustainable outcomes.
“The recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change sets out compelling evidence of the need for change. The NDF is the document which can guide that change and we urge Welsh government to be bolder in its approach to long term planning and managing climate change in Wales.”
RTPI Cymru says that far more detail is also needed about proposals around national forests and national transport routes – the latter of which often being criticised for poor transport links between North and South Wales.
These policies must be supported by a robust evidence base, the planning body added.
RTPI Cymru’s response was formed drawing on the expertise of its Policy and Research Forum, which includes a cross section of planning practitioners from the private and public sectors and academia from across Wales.