New campaign calls for planners to take key role in Covid-19 recovery

THE Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has launched a national campaign calling on governments across the UK and Ireland to put planners at the heart of Covid-19 recovery plans.

Plan the World We Need, launched by RTPI president Sue Manns at the Institute’s annual conference, aims to raise awareness of the role planners have in areas such as reviving the economy, tackling inequality and meeting net-zero targets by 2050.

The campaign was launched alongside a report, Plan The World We Need: The contribution of planning to a sustainable, resilient and inclusive recovery, and a short film.

Ms Manns said, “The Covid-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus the strengths and weaknesses of our places and our way of life and it is now vital that we plan a greener, place-based recovery that responds not only to the lessons learned from the pandemic, but also to the challenges that we were grappling with long before Covid, most notably climate change.

“Governments must capitalise on the expertise of spatial planners to tackle place-based inequality, enable a green industrial revolution, prioritise healthy and sustainable modes of transport and coordinate the rapid deployment of zero carbon infrastructure. Together we must ensure the renewed focus on sustainable and active travel, the reduction of pollution levels and the increased use of digital technology, seen during lockdown, is sustained alongside an economic recovery.

“As Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in PMQs earlier this month: ‘The green recovery is going to be essential to this country’s success in the next few years.’ The RTPI calls on governments to fully utilise planners and the planning system and empower them to Plan the world we need.”

As part of the campaign, which will initially run for six months, the RTPI revealed it will engage with policy makers, parliamentarians and wider stakeholders in all four countries of the UK and in Ireland.

A series of research papers focusing on key issues including healthy place making, the role of planning in achieving net-zero transport and why investment in planning is so vital for the country’s future prosperity, will also be published. The Institute has also launched an internal climate action plan to mitigate its own carbon footprint.