Planning and climate and housing goals

Sustainable development and the common good

Sir, – Further to “Unless planning is reformed, we will miss our climate and housing targets” (Opinion & Analysis, December 7th), the issues Dr Frances Ruane identifies cannot solely be laid at the planning system, rather they reflect cleavages in society which the system and our members, who operate it as professional planners, are required to mediate in the interests of sustainable development and the common good.

Meeting our climate action plan objectives for the built environment means smaller houses, an increase in high-density housing and trebling the number of apartments, changing building methods and materials, more deployment of renewables and reduced private car use. This is reflected in our forward planning.

However, they are the very issues which can cause communities and neighbours to raise objections when faced with the reality of a planning application.

Third-party rights are a fundamental part of the Irish planning system. Underpinning any legislative reform and further resourcing of a stretched planning system, which is being asked to do more and have a greater impact, should be an open political and social discourse on the physical fabric of the net zero and climate resilient society we want to create and leave to future generations, and the difficult decisions that will need to be made to deliver it. – Yours, etc,



Senior Planner,

Irish Planning Institute,

Dublin 2.