The urgent need to address climate change means our countryside is under increasing pressure to absorb new forms of sustainable energy, including wind turbines.
Whilst we are very supportive of renewable energy, especially where it delivers benefits to local communities and the rural economy, we are concerned that there’s no strategic approach to planning the best places for windfarms and other forms of green power, so we lobby local authorities to be more proactive in mapping the capacity. We also want to encourage local communities to come forward with their own plans for generating green energy.
Wind farms are controversial. But it is our view that we need a certain number of them if we are to provide enough clean, renewable energy to avert the worst impacts of climate change on our precious countryside.
We look at all proposals on a case-by-case basis and strongly support those which are appropriately scaled and in less sensitive landscapes where the benefit of new, low carbon energy is delivered without a really harmful impact on the landscape, such as domestic scale (up to 30 metres high) wind turbines; solar panels and small hydro-electric schemes.
At the same time, we have opposed wind farms which we judged to be too damaging to nearby high-quality landscapes and we actively lobby to improve the planning system so that all forms of renewable energy are steered to the most appropriate places.
Micro hydro power fits the bill perfectly in the Peak District where there is plenty of rain and fast flowing rivers running down from the hills. We also have a rich legacy of water power.
We published a Peak Power report about the best options for re-instating hydro power at over 150 sites across the Peak District. We identified that hydro power capacity (which is only about 1 megawatt, and mostly installed at reservoir outflows in the Longdendale and the Upper Derwent valleys) could be tripled. This would supply power to thousands of Peak District homes.
Other green energy
We also support a better mix of renewable power project. There are plenty of places where other green energy schemes could work, such as: hydro power; biomass power stations and anaerobic digestion (burning methane given off by decomposing farm waste)
- Click here to read about current Sustainable Energy campaigns
- Click here to read our Climate Change and Energy policy
- Click here to read our Peak Power report