Last edited 12 Nov 2020

Royal Town Planning Institute RTPI

The term ‘town planning’ was first used in the UK in 1906, and in 1909, the Housing, Town Planning, etc Act first empowered local authorities to prepare development schemes for land. In 1910, Thomas Adams was appointed the first Town Planning Inspector and in 1913 an invitation was sent out to interested practitioners to join a Town Planning Institute, chaired by Adams.

The purpose of the institute was described as:

  • To advance the study of town-planning, civic design and kindred subjects, and of the arts and sciences as applied to those subjects;
  • To promote the artistic and scientific development of towns and cities;
  • To secure the association, and to promote the general interests of those engaged or interested in the practice of town-planning.

Adams was elected first President of the institute in 1914. In 1971, the Town Planning Institute was granted royal charter and became the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).

The RTPI is now the largest planning institute in Europe with over 23,000 members. It is based at 41 Botolph Lane in London and has regional offices throughout the UK. It is a charitable, membership organisation responsible for maintaining professional standards, accrediting planning courses and advancing the science and art of planning for the benefit of the public. The RTPI is governed by a board of trustees responsible for the management its affairs and 'promoting its objects'.

Members of the RTPI may be:

Planning is not a protected profession, however, Chartered planning consultants must have a degree in planning and/or a number of years experience in spatial planning. They must comply with an independent Code of Professional Conduct, hold professional indemnity insurance and undertake continuing professional development (CPD) throughout their career to ensure their knowledge remains up to date.

The RTPI maintains a searchable database to help clients find planning consultants. For more information about the planning profession, see: Planning consultant.

The RTPI also operates also Planning Aid England, which offers free planning advice to communities and individuals.

The RTPI Trust is a registered charity which provides support to RTPI members and their families who are in financial hardship.

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