Climate change is already having impacts on biodiversity within Europe, with habitats and species needing to change and adapt to rising global temperatures and shifts in bio-climatic zones.
Spatial planning represents an important intervention to further European, national and local biodiversity objectives for climate change adaptation. Drawing on case-studies of plans for inland and coastal areas, and involving stakeholder workshops, this paper reports on a trans-national study examining the scope of spatial plans in the Netherlands, England and France in addressing the impact of climate change. It concludes that spatial planning is making provision for biodiversity and dynamic natural processes. However, while good practice in planning for biodiversity under conditions of climate change is developing, systematic use is not being made of available procedures. The paper examines some of the barriers to implementation of this new policy commitment to climate change adaptation. Recommendations are made covering policy development to include climate change impacts upon biodiversity, modified procedures for plan-making and the appraisal of plans and projects. Amongst the specific measures recommended are the climate-proofing of projects and plans through the use of EIA and SEA; the integration of plans through adoption of common objectives and review of time horizons and boundaries; and an ecosystem-based planning approach. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.