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RTPI Edinburgh – Seminar

18th November 2010

RTPI Edinburgh SeminarAlthough the LES Partnership’s funding streams don’t currently cover Scotland and Wales, we know that there is significant interest in the LES approach. In order to promote links and exchange experiences, representatives of the Partnership (Andrew Whittles and Steve Merryfield) arranged and funded a seminar in Edinburgh’s City Chambers in conjunction with Edinburgh City Council and the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).

The seminar was chaired by Ian Angus the RTPI convenor in Scotland and was very well attended with 32 delegates from all over Scotland including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee. Andrew and Steve had half hour presentation slots followed by a presentation by Gavin Martin from Edinburgh City Council. These presentations were followed by questions and answers and then a discussion session.

The planning system in Scotland depends upon different legislation from England and Wales so not all policy issues set out within the LESP/Defra Planning Guidance apply. However there are many similarities with Planning Obligations (Section 75) and other relevant planning policies. There was also much interest from delegates in respect of alternative fuels and vehicle procurement.

The opportunity to visit and discuss air quality and low emission strategies with RTPI colleagues in Scotland was extremely valuable. Not only was it useful to hear about the issues facing Edinburgh and other major Scottish cities but we were able to explain how things are done south of the border and the LES Partnership experience.

Our aim is to continue to hold seminars through the RTPI and to this end arrangements have been made for seminars in Newcastle and York early in 2011. A further seminar is to be confirmed in Devon. The visit to Scotland was the first outside of LESP funding boundary but it is to hoped that further collaboration can be arranged in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland subject to the cooperation of professional bodies like the RTPI and local authorities in these countries. The future of our climate and environment lies with a comprehensive approach to improving air quality and adoption of LES policies.

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