Climate change and energy
Climate change is the most urgent and complex environmental issue we face today. The impact of both energy generation and use on the countryside and the climate is growing. CPRE believes the Government should prioritise measures to curb the growth in energy demand, encourage energy efficiency, promote a wider range of renewable technologies and ensure that new energy generation is lower carbon.
In July 2015, CPRE held a workshop for community representatives − the majority from rural areas − to provide a practical introduction to community energy and help them to initiate and get involved in community energy projects. You can download the workshop presentations to print below.
How to accommodate onshore wind while protecting the countryside
In this report CPRE argues that a locally accountable, strategically planned approach which takes account of landscape capacity and steers wind development to the right places, will enable us to promote renewable energy, including some onshore wind, while protecting cherished countryside. The report builds a case for such an approach by examining how onshore wind proposals are currently being treated in the planning system. It uses local examples provided by our branch network and Planning Inspectorate appeal decisions.
A renewable energy guide for rural communities
This guide gives an overview of community based renewable energy options for rural community groups, local councils and individuals. It provides a starting point and signposts more detailed sources of advice, information and help for rural communities to get generating and take the next step in planning and delivering their own renewable energy developments.
The South East
Climate change in the South East could alter everything from golfing to gardening, from house prices to hedgehogs, from farming to fishing. We have the choice to limit the impacts on our homes, our health and our heritage – and increasingly politicians, business and the public are working together to find solutions to move towards a low-carbon society. CPRE worked with other green charities as part of the Tomorrow's England project - this booklet takes a look at some of the solutions we proposed.
While wind energy can make an important contribution to tackling climate change, CPRE believes this should not come at the expense of the beauty, character and tranquillity of rural England. We assess wind turbine proposals for their potential impact on the landscape, taking account of their cumulative impact, and strongly resist those whose impact we consider to be unacceptable. This note explains how the planning system should enable such judgements to be made fairly and transparently.
CPRE’s Policy Guidance Note on solar energy sets out our position, whilst the practical campaign tools document provides information to help evaluate and shape solar farm proposals. CPRE would like to see greater use made of commercial roofs and brownfield land unsuitable for housing for solar electricity — an area at least twice the size of London is available, representing a huge amount of untapped solar energy potential. This would increase solar generation whilst protecting the countryside. However, the Government needs to do much more to help realise this huge potential. Our policy guidance does not rule out solar farms, but it does say they should meet important criteria — on protecting landscape and heritage, amenity and the best agricultural land, and maximise biodiversity.
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Making solar work for town and countryside
The effect of changes in planning for renewable energy one year on
Our analysis of the evidence indicates the Government’s changes to, and interventions in, the renewable energy planning system since summer 2013 have clearly reduced the proportion of solar farm and onshore wind projects receiving planning approval. This has helped reduce the associated landscape impacts and other local effects. However, our analysis also suggests that the jury is still out on whether the planning policy changes have achieved a better long-term balance between local environmental protection and producing low-carbon energy.
From the analysis set out in this report, CPRE make recommendations on the need for clear guidance for decision makers and a strategic, plan-led approach to developing renewable energy infrastructure which addresses cumulative impacts on landscape. We would also like to see brownfield land unsuitable for housing being used for solar farms in preference to greenfield sites, and the subsidy regime should be used to encourage this. We also need to overcome major barriers to the extensive use of commercial roofspace for solar electricity.