Skip to main content

SWT shortlisted in regional planning awards

10 May 2022 : Council news, Planning and development

Somerset West and Taunton’s Climate Positive Planning guidance has been shortlisted in this year’s Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) South West awards.

The RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence highlight exceptional examples of how planning and planners have a positive impact on the quality of life for people and communities in creating places and protecting the environment.

The Climate Positive Planning guidance, which was published in February 2021, has been shortlisted for the awards’ ‘Excellence in Plan Making Practice’ category, in recognition of its role as a swift and flexible tool through which the Council has effectively integrated its declarations of Climate and Ecological Emergencies into planning.

Existing adopted planning policies predate the Council’s declarations of Climate and Ecological Emergencies which were made in February 2019 and October 2020 respectively. The Climate Positive Planning guidance, which has recently been updated, seeks to clarify existing policy in light of changing local and national contexts until successive plans can be implemented by the new unitary authority for Somerset, following its formation in April 2023.

The guidance informs effective decision making, intending to improve standards of new development with immediate effect.

It also forms a key action within the Council’s Carbon Neutrality and Climate Resilience (CNCR) Action Plan and supports the countywide approved Somerset Climate Emergency Strategy.

Cllr Mike Rigby, Executive Member for Planning and Transport, said: “I am delighted that our Climate Positive Planning guidance has been shortlisted for this prestigious award by the RTPI SW. This is, again, testament to the hard work that officers and councillors are putting into tackling the Climate and Ecological Emergencies.

“Planning is a core function of the Council and it needs to play a key role in our response to these emergencies.

"The guidance document helps to raise the profile of climate and sustainability in decision making and maximise use of existing policies in the interim period before a new plan can, in time, be developed by the new Somerset Council.”

Shortlisted entries for the 2022 awards were confirmed this week (Monday 9 May) on the RTPI’s South West Awards webpage.

The guidance will be judged on the intended outcome for people and communities; sustainable development goals to reduce carbon footprint, waste disposal and material selection; constructive engagement held with the local community and stakeholders to directly influence the guidance; and the positive changes seen since its implementation.

Other categories in this year’s regional awards include Best Project, Small Planning Consultancy of the Year, Planning Authority of the Year, Head Planner of the Year, Young Planner of the Year and The Chair's Award.

The winners of the awards will be announced at the RTPI South West Summer Reception on 6 July at Somerset County Cricket Ground in Taunton, and will go through to the national finals, which will be announced at a ceremony in central London on 30 November.