Planning sector in line for 'profound changes' due to climate crisis - Sunday Business Post

Planning sector in line for 'profound changes' due to climate crisis

Planners must advocate for environmentally sustainable work with their clients and communities, says new president of planning body  

The planning sector is in line for a difficult adjustment period with climate change due to enforce “profound changes”, the new Irish Planning Institute (IPI) president has warned.

Last week, Dr Conor Norton, head of the TU Dublin Environment and Planning school, was elected president of the IPI for a two-year period. He succeeded Joe Corr of Corr & Associates Spatial Planning.

As an academic researcher and consultant, Norton has contributed to national planning in Ireland policy and local area planning over his career. His current area of research is green infrastructure, planning for renewable energy and marine spatial planning.

Norton told the Business Post that new environmentally-focused policies that affect planners were inevitable and it would be very difficult to achieve some of these goals on the ground.

“Climate change is going to mean fairly profound changes to the way that we plan new places. And it's going to put, I think, a new emphasis on our town centres, urban centres and on urban regeneration,” Norton said.

He said the fundamentals of planning have always been sustainable development, but planners were going to have to become greater advocates for environmentally sustainable work with clients and in their community.

He added his first move as president would be to map out the IPI’s approach to climate action.

Another key goal for Norton in his new role would be to encourage further investment in local authorities‘ planning departments.

Planning consultants have said that certain understaffed local authorities have contributed to slow decision-making on some vital housing developments that could help address the country’s housing crisis.

“We do need to focus on resourcing the local authorities and the local planning services adequately with the adequate numbers of staff,” Norton said.

“But not just that - we need to find the specialists who can drive excellent place-making and create development plans that are sustainable.”


The Sunday Business Post (Web), 19/01/2020 

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