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By Fran Evans
17th May 2019

Schoolgirl environmental activist tells MPs that UK planning decisions have been ‘absurd’

24 April 2019 by Colin Marrs in Planning Resources

Swedish schoolgirl environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg has attacked UK planning policies and decisions during a speech to MPs yesterday (23rd April)



Thunberg, who inspired a wave of strikes by school pupils to raise awareness of climate change, was invited to Parliament after addressing Extinction Rebellion protestors at the weekend. During her speech to MPs, she repeated her claim that “nothing is being done” to halt, or even slow, carbon emissions and the ecological damage they cause.

She said: “The UK’s active current support of new exploitation of fossil fuels – for example, the UK shale gas fracking industry, the expansion of its North Sea oil and gas fields, the expansion of airports as well as the planning permission for a brand new coal mine – is beyond absurd.”

In March, Cumbria County Council approved plans for a new coal mine on a former chemical works site. Planners accepted the applicant’s arguments that the scheme would cut carbon emissions by reducing the need to import coal from overseas, as well as delivering significant local economic benefits.

The government has also supported the growth of fracking through planning policy. However, it suffered a blow in March, when the High Court ruled that it had ignored relevant evidence before including the policy in the NPPF, and failed to properly consult on it.

Also in March, campaigners confirmed they would launch a legal challenge against housing secretary James Brokenshire’s decision not to call in plans for the expansion of Stansted airport in Essex. They said that Brokenshire was wrong to conclude that the application did not involve issues of more than local importance.

Thunberg said that the carbon emissions “curve” should play a much bigger role in future decisions on development. She said: “Every time we make a decision we should ask ourselves; how will this decision affect that curve? We should no longer measure our wealth and success in the graph that shows economic growth, but in the curve that shows the emissions of greenhouse gases.”

Swedish schoolgirl environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg Credit to Planning Resources.