National Planning Policies Need to take Account of “The Climate Impact Of Mining Fossil Fuels”
Obama’s 2016 State of the Union speech contains the germ of an idea that should be incorporated into all national planning policies including those operating in England, Scotland and Wales, that they should assess
” the climate impact of mining for fossil fuel”
Currently the system used in England for example, the NPPF, although it claims that the word “sustainability” is central to how the guidance should be interpreted, is only concerned in practice with the direct local impacts caused by phentermine extracting fossil fuels and takes no account of the wider environmental impacts that then using these fossil fuels causes. If they do not then the dilemma currently faced by Northumberland County Council will continue in the English Planning System.
The Leader of Northumberland County Council said that Storm Desmond has cost NCC £500,000 (see The Newcastle Chronicle ‘Council leader says flood-hit Northumberland left ‘out on a limb’ by Chancellor’ 15/12/15).Since then there have estimates from the Insurance Industry that the recent winter storms have cost the industry c£300m (‘UK floods: Insurance costs ‘won’t rise despite storm claims’ Independent, 4/1/16)
NCC has also to decide on whether it should grant planning permission for a new 3m tonne Opencast Mine at the Highthorn site near the beautiful Duridge Bay.
Given current planning policy and the way it has been interpreted via recent Public Inquiries for the Bradley and Field House Farm sites, NCC will not be able to argue that the cost imposed by climate change caused by using fossil fuels which then cause floods, damage and costs to Northumberland residents, cannot be used as a legitimate objection to the Highthorn application. This is what needs to change to prevent such dilemmas from occurring.
Obama’s 2016 State of the Union Speech is highlighting the direct kind of action that needs to be taken, not just to keep fossil fuels in the ground but, by changing planning policies so that plans to extract fossil fuels have to take account of wider environmental impact of using these fossil fuels, we may just lock them in the ground.
All national planning policy guidance should follow this lead being pioneered by the USA.
(This article was originally written as a post on this Guardian article
‘Obama vows to overhaul coal mining on public lands to ‘invest in the future’’ (Guardian, 13/1/16) @ http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jan/13/obama-state-of-the-union-address-2016-coal-mining-public-lands?#comment-66648393 )