Leeds City Council are proposing significant changes to their local planning policy in response to the climate emergency - and a public consultation is now open on these changes. The Local Plan is really important because it shapes development across the city and sets the standards which developers must meet.
The Council’s Local Plan Update is called ‘Your Neighbourhood, Your City, Your Planet’. Encouragingly, it includes much more ambitious policies on carbon reduction in new buildings, how new development should reduce flood risk and improve biodiversity, and supporting the concept of 20 minute neighbourhoods, amongst other things.
We now need to get as many supportive responses as possible to this consultation by Monday 19th December - so that it can be approved and we can see faster local action on the climate emergency.
After this consultation, the government’s Planning Inspector is tasked with judging whether these new planning policies are what the people of Leeds actually want. This is a numbers game. So we need to say an enormous YES! If we don’t show enough support, we won’t get these ambitious changes to policy.
What do we need you to do?
Go to the Council’s consultation website and tick SUPPORT for all the policies. Respond before the 19th December - it only takes 10 minutes!
Spread the word with your friends and neighbours and in your workplace.
Share this news article on social media and tell people you have responded, using the hashtag #ClimateLocalPlan.
How did we get here?
The new policies were developed following initial consultation on the Local Plan in July 2021, which many people from across Leeds responded to and helped shape. Our Future Leeds members came together and wrote a joint response to that earlier consultation, which was delivered to the Council, alongside many individuals responding to the online survey.
Members of Our Future Leeds and Climate Action Leeds have now reviewed the policies in this Local Plan Update and they are confident that they are all an improvement on what went before. We can clearly see the impact that the people of Leeds had on these new policies, so this is down to you!
At this stage there is limited opportunity for shaping the policies further - this is just a final yes/no question of whether you support or do not support these changes. The consultation process is set nationally rather than being specific to Leeds, and many local authorities are now on this journey to radically update their planning policies to be in line with tackling the climate emergency. We are hopeful that Leeds will be one of the first to bring in such ambitious policies.
What is in the consultation?
The consultation presents 37 new policies and asks respondents whether they 'support', 'do not support' or have 'no comment' for each of the amended policies (see screenshot below).
Importantly, if respondents select 'do not support', there is no way to indicate if you think the policy doesn't go far enough or if you think it goes too far. So all responses you submit as ‘do not support’ will have the effect of making it less likely that these new climate policies will be brought in.
The Council encourages feedback, and respondents may think they need to go further. To avoid the unintended consequences of no new policy being adopted if you select ‘do not support’, it is best to put any feedback like that in the 'Other comments' box at the end, whilst clearly ticking the box to ‘support’ the policy improvements which are now being proposed.
Some of these policies are likely to be a big challenge for developers and also go far above what has so far been allowed by the Planning Inspector. This makes it even more important that as many climate-conscious people from Leeds as possible respond to make it clear that we want these new ambitious policies.
We know that tackling the climate emergency and building a zero carbon, nature friendly, and socially just Leeds requires radical new approaches, and we don't claim these proposed policies are a silver bullet. Not least because the planning system focuses on new development and we know most carbon emissions arise from what is already built. So we will continue to engage with the Council and hold them to account to do more. But this at least is a positive step in the right direction, which we all need to get behind!
Thank you so much. With your support our future Leeds can be zero carbon, nature friendly, and socially just!