The Labour Party published its manifesto for the General Election this
morning. Among the key points of most interest to the Royal Institute of British Architects
- Ensuring that the planning system continues to protect the sustainability
of local and regional environments
- Developing a planning regime which is simpler, faster and more responsive
to local and business needs including the need to create jobs and regenerate
- Upgrading primary schools nation-wide in a 15-year Building Schools for
the Future programme
- Increasing the annual supply of new social homes by 50% by 2008, giving
local authorities the ability to start building homes again, and bringing
empty homes back into use
- Legislating, as soon as time allows, to implement the findings of the
Heritage Protection Review
- Giving every school student the opportunity to experience out-of-classroom
learning in the natural environment
Building all newly developed communities to high environmental standards, and
developing a clear plan to minimise the impact of new communities on the
environment. All new homes receiving government funding to meet the new Code for
Sustainable Buildings from April 2006 with local authorities encouraged to apply
similar standards to private homes.
Commenting on the Labour manifesto, RIBA
President George Ferguson said:
“This is a comprehensive programme
and I welcome the Labour Party’s focus on sustainability and delivering better
public services through an improved public realm. Much is in line with the
RIBA’s own Manifesto for Architecture which we recently published. But while
Labour understand the link between design and better services or neighbourhoods,
and have made good progress on planning reform, much remains to be done. If we
are to have better public services and sustainable communities then it’s time to
deliver on design.
“A bold programme needs bold delivery.
Equalised VAT on all forms of construction would help bring empty homes back
into use and regenerate our cities. And if we are to have minimum environmental
standards on all new homes, then why can’t we make government funding for all
new buildings conditional upon good design quality?
“The proposal to give every pupil the opportunity to
experience out-of-classroom learning in the natural environment is terrific. I
would add that the built environment is also a fantastic resource for a range of
subjects, and every school should be a demonstration project for sustainability.
A better built environment needs a better-informed public – and we need to start
Posted 19th April 2005