The Compact City: A Sustainable Urban Form?

By Mike Jenks; Elizabeth Burton et al. | Go to book overview

Michael Breheny, Adrian Gurney and James Strike


The Compact City and the Need to Travel:The Implementation of UK Planning Policy Guidance

Introduction

In addressing the question of sustainable development, many governments around the world have identified planning systems as an appropriate device to deliver at least some of the objectives of environmental protection and enhancement. In turn, the link between land use and transport is seen as a crucial issue because of the particular concern with fuel consumption and emissions. Thus, much of the debate-both academic and political-about sustainable development has focused on the question of the degree to which land use planning can help to reduce reliance on the private car and promote greater use of other modes. A consensus view seems to have emerged which argues that policies to achieve greater urban compaction are more likely to reduce car use, and hence reduce pollution. Although this remains controversial, it is a policy stance that has been adopted in many countries.

The UK Government, along with a number of other western governments, has responded to this debate with a range of policy initiatives. The fullest statement of the Government's aims is contained in the UK Strategy for Sustainable Development (UK Government, 1994), produced in response to the Rio Earth Summit of 1992. This highlights the role of the planning system and the need to derive policy that relates land use and transport.

The most specific statement on this relationship is in Planning Policy Guidance 13 (PPG13): Transport, published in March 1994 (Department of the Environment, 1994). PPG13 has been described as one of the most radical postwar statements of planning policy in the UK. It has introduced a major change in policy at national level with an increased emphasis on the interrelationship of land use planning and transport as a means of: reducing the growth in length and number of motorised journeys; encouraging alternative means of travel which have less environmental impact; and hence reducing reliance on the private car.

A major concern following the introduction of such a profound policy change is the degree to which new policies are being adopted by local authorities. Thus,

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