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Conference celebrates major contribution planning makes to Wales

08 June 2018

Lesley Welsh Cab Secretary

The planning system has directly contributed at least £2.35 billion to Welsh society in 2016/17, a major conference heard yesterday in Cardiff.

The figure - calculated using a new tool - captures for the first time, the economic, social and environmental value of planning. The RTPI Cymru and Welsh Government commissioned Arup to develop it.

Launching the tool at the conference, Lesley Griffiths AM, Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs (pictured) said:

“I encourage each planning authority to use the tool… [it] demonstrates why you should invest in planning services as a cost effective way to improve local prosperity.”

Speaking after the conference, Roisin Willmott FRTPI, Director of RTPI Cymru said:

“This new tool set the tone for the conference, which celebrated the value of planning. While the toolkit has monetised planning as much as possible, we must not lose sight of the broad contribution planning makes to Welsh economic, environmental and social success.”

Dr Willmott described how the planning system contributes to achieving the seven well-being goals in the Well-being of Future Generations Act. She said the new tool would help local authorities quantify this.

Future Generations Commissioner, Sophie Howe - who describes her role as the ‘guardian of future generations’ – is responsible for ensuring the Act is implemented and is helping public bodies think about the long term impact of their decisions.

While the toolkit has monetised planning as much as possible, we must not lose sight of the broad contribution planning makes to Welsh economic, environmental and social success.

Speaking at the conference, she said:

““I believe that whilst improving the economic well-being of our communities in Wales is a key part of what our planning systems should be doing, if we’re talking about value, we have to be looking more holistically. It’s [planning] about place-making and improving our lives and well-being through our approach to planning.”

The conference also featured six practical, hands-on sessions for delegates including an in depth look at how to use the new tool kit, understanding planning inspectors decision making and how to use transport models.

It closed with a ‘speed briefing’ from Carmarthenshire County Council on the their project which has protected habitat - of European significance - of an endangered butterfly, called Caeau Mynndd Mawr SPG and Marsh Fritillary Project. It recently won at the RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence.

The Wales Planning Conference, run by RTPI Cymru, is the premier annual planning event in Wales and attracts up to 200 professional planners, Councillors, Welsh Government and built environment stakeholders. The 2019 conference will be held on 6 June 2019. See how the event unfolded on Twitter: WalesPlan18. View photos from the conference.