Planning for Water - TWENTY65 Thought Leadership Workshop
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On 23 January 2018, about 50 delegates from diverse sectors including water companies, commercial organisations, local authorities and universities gathered in the University of Sheffield to share expertise and develop views about the current and potential interactions between water management and the planning system in England.
The session was led by Hugh Ellis, Head of Policy at the Town and Country Planning Association. Hugh Ellis gave a short presentation highlighting the ‘crisis’ facing England’s deregulated water planning system and the need for change in water strategy and planning in England to meet the challenges presented by climate change. Delegates were asked to consider key issues relating to current experiences of planning for water and to discuss strategic and practical visions for future water challenges and for planning for building and neighbourhoods. The event was intended to inform the Raynsford Review of planning, organised by the Town and Country Planning Association (see below and https://www.tcpa.org.uk/raynsford-review).
The delegates raised current issues relating to a lack of cohesive water management, and a lack of prioritisation of water management in development.
Suggestions for the future included the need for a strong vision of water management in development such as stricter regulation for developing sustainable homes and communities. Approaches that account for specific needs of local communities and areas were recommended, as well as recognition of water as a unique resource that is dynamic and borderless entity. Delegates discussed the value of blue/green infrastructure for water management and the need to put this at the heart of development. There were also several suggestions for interdisciplinary working and partnerships between local authorities with water companies, developers and communities.
Feedback gathered at the workshop will be used to inform the Raynsford Review of Planning which aims to identify how the Government can reform the English planning system to make it fairer, better resourced and capable of producing quality outcomes. Former Planning Minister Nick Raynsford chairs a task force for this report which will be formally presented at all major party conferences in autumn 2018.