Climate change is the greatest threat to our countryside today.
The scientific evidence for the changes we can expect is now well documented: changes to the mix and reduction in the diversity of wildlife and habitats; more extreme events such as flooding, low river flows in summer and pressure to build more reservoirs in the uplands. The science also suggests that the greatest threat will be to our peat moorlands as the climate that sustains retreats north and west.
In order to offset the impact of climate change, we must work urgently and nationally to reduce energy use and some of this can be achieved by better planning, including
- industrial and residential developments meeting stringent new energy standards
- finding new ways of travelling less
- moving goods or people in greener ways like rail or electric cars
We must also generate new forms of energy which emit less or no carbon dioxide from renewable technologies powered by water, wind and sun. However, renewable technology must not dominate or ruin the landscapes they are helping to save. So, small scale technologies are the most suitable in the countryside, especially in our national parks, where there is relatively low demand for energy in rural communities without major industry.