Climate Change and sustainable development

We believe climate change poses a severe threat to our future which requires immediate and increasing ongoing strategic and local action. Our contribution to helping to tackle climate change is divided into projects concerned with mitigation and adaptation in relation to landscape.

Mitigation is concerned with action to reduce the sources of greenhouse gases which drive climate change, such as fossil fuels. Our work here includes renewable energy capacity studies and strategies for large areas of land or sea such as Wales and its coast and the North East of England. Our core aim is to guide the right development to the right place. We believe that at this point in the drive towards increasing sustainability there is little benefit in permitting energy development where it significantly adversely affects our best landscapes or seascapes or blights people’s lives as this will only encourage opposition and ultimately delay implementation on good, productive sites.

We also carry out landscape and visual impact assessments [LVIAs] and mitigation proposals for individual proposals such as wind, solar farms and anaerobic digesters. These are often in or near sensitive landscapes, which is why we are involved, but carefully sited and designed these developments can be acceptable. We assessed the first solar PV development in Wales which has now been constructed.

We manage our office practices in a way that minimises energy and resource use. We achieve this by minimising travel and waste, including living and working in the same city, cycling to work [for the last 15 years] and using public transport wherever possible.

Adaptation is concerned with measures to adapt to climate change, minimising exposure to risk. In our multi-criteria landscape sensitivity and capacity studies for settlements we seek to keep floodplains free from development and protect green corridors and green ‘stepping stones’ to provide a multi-functional resource eg assist wildlife movement, provide food, recreation and amenity.

At Stonton Wyville in rural Leicestershire we have put forward a sustainable futures plan creating a new model of a productive and healthy countryside supporting local people and farm diversification while significantly enhancing landscape character and biodiversity.

The role of local communities in taking an active role in taking control and managing their own environment is very important. Our Local Landscapes toolkit and involvement in the Food, People and Place project demonstrate our ability to assist neighbourhood planning. We believe we have to look at new ways of creating and managing our urban and rural landscapes while conserving the best landscapes and seascapes to meet the challenges of an uncertain future.

We have a long standing commitment to working towards sustainable development. By this we mean that we try to ensure that our actions do not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs. In 1994, Simon White undertook an MA at Oxford Brookes University on how to achieve an urban form which both minimised transport energy use and optimised biotic support ie green infrastructure. The results of this research combined with the application of core urban design principles and ongoing study have helped us develop a clear idea of sustainable settlement form and this informs our consultancy advice.

 

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