Humans are ‘living beyond their means’ and action must be taken now, a leading sustainability engineer has warned. By breaching ‘planetary boundaries’ in a number of areas – humans have destroyed ecological systems, accelerated forest loss, caused ocean acidification and a range of other problems. 'It's a fantastic challenge,’ Professor Peter Head told the nearly 200 guests at last night’s RTPI Nathaniel Lichfield Lecture.
Humans can live in harmony with nature, he said, saying we need major reductions in pollution and resource consumption to avoid a number of environmental problems, such as climate change.
Active travel, green spaces, reduced air pollution and a range of other measures were given as solutions. Professor Head explained how ‘Roadmap 2030’, which his non-profit The Ecological Sequestration Trust has developed, is a practical, step by step action plan designed to implement the sustainable development goals. It brings together municipal and national governments, academia, the private sector and faith communities to deliver 16 cross cutting themes including the economy, cultural heritage and infrastructure.
Reflecting on planning, Professor Head noted energy, water, waste management and other environmental considerations are currently missing from Local Plans. ‘It's a bit flawed’ he said, arguing more needs to be done to help deliver the sustainable development goals. He also suggested neighbourhood plans need better ways or metrics to measure what sustainable growth looks like.
His wide-ranging lecture also covered innovative financing for sustainability projects, the use of data to inform decision making, planning for an ageing population and infrastructure.
Professor Peter Head CBE is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of the Ecological Sequestration Trust. He is a civil and structural engineer who has become a recognised world leader in major, advanced composite technology and now in sustainable development in cities and regions.
The RTPI Nathaniel Lichfield Lecture is given in memory of Nathaniel Lichfield and is generously sponsored by Dalia Lichfield. It was chaired by RTPI Gold Medal recipient and Chief Executive of The Crown Estate, Alison Nimmo CBE MRTPI.
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