Radically Rethinking our Planning System – The Case for Resilience Development Corporations
The impacts of the climate crisis are intensifying. Its effects of are happening faster and with greater severity than previously expected, and this is leading to more frequent severe weather: intense rain, heat waves and sea level rise.
As a nation, we are critically unprepared for these effects. Our current national governance is not delivering the radical action that is needed to prevent the worst of its impacts.
As the climate crisis intensifies, we will be made poorer and more vulnerable, and crucially less able to take the steps necessary to adapt.
The TCPA has put forward a solution to the complex challenge of building resilience to the effects of our changing climate. The core of this solution lies in the creation of a structure, in the form of Resilience Development Corporations, that can provide a strong planning delivery mechanism for building resilience in the places that will be worse affected.
Our country has faced seemingly insurmountable challenges before; following the Second World War, a framework was designed to manage large-scale demographic change and reconstruction in an era of acute housing shortage. These New Town Development Corporations were able to deliver both numbers and quality and inclusive communities at the same time.
Building on the legal framework established by the New Town Development Corporations, and repurposing it to meet the challenge of adaptation to the impacts of climate crisis, the TCPA’s vision of Resilience Development Corporations would have a clear founding purpose and the legal power to do everything necessary to secure the resilience of a particular locality.
Each Resilience Development Corporation would be designated based on an area of functional geography that shared key vulnerabilities and where joint planning and delivery has added benefits. The designation process would require parliamentary consent, a public inquiry and the approval of the Secretary of State. Responsibility and backing for the Resilience Development Corporations themselves would remain a function of central government.
Each Resilience Development Corporation would have the powers to plan and control development and compulsory purchase land as well as be able to implement resilience measures in terms of flood defence and building standards. Their scope might include upland land management where this directly relates to managing flood or reducing carbon by protecting and enhancing carbon sinks.
Making it happen
To make this all happen, the TCPA is drafting a ‘National Resilience Act’ which would provide for the establishment of Resilience Development Corporations as well as offering detail of their designation, operation and governance. The Act would place the responsibility with Ministers to prepare national policy to support the corporations, and would be accompanied either in law or in policy with the establishment of a Department for Climate Resilience, which would unify all the functions necessary for national resilience which are currently spread across government.
If you would like to know more about how the TCPA is developing this idea, or if are you interested in contributing to the discussion please contact:
Projects and Policy Manager
+44 20 3965 5421
The ideas set out here are a team effort and the result of many informal conversations within the TCPA community and with external organisations. We are particularly grateful to Hywel Lloyd and Peter Ellis for their wisdom and support.