Engineers map out a route to more sustainable living places
National and local planning policies must be aligned around a common sustainability agenda for both housing and infrastructure, according to a report published today by the National Engineering Policy Centre, led by the Royal Academy of Engineering. The report, which was delivered in partnership with the Infrastructure and Projects Authority, says that the planning system must be demystified and stakeholders empowered in order to unlock the potential benefits for society.
The current housing crisis provides a real opportunity for change in both the quality of living places and the scale of housing delivery in the UK, says the report, but the complexity of the housing problem demands a systemic approach. It is estimated that the UK needs 300,000 new properties a year to meet current demand, with one million homes projected for the Oxford-Cambridge Arc corridor alone. Together with the imperative of a legal target for net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the urgent requirement for more housing can be used to drive policy changes that will make the places where we live, work and play more sustainable. This can be done if the social, environmental and governance issues between planning, housing and infrastructure are better understood and people have the knowledge and tools to collaborate in finding workable solution.