Friday, 30 June 2017

Climate change: the CPRE and renewable energy in Devon

The Campaign to Protect Rural England has been very concerned about climate change for some time now:
Climate change is altering our cherished landscapes - Campaign to Protect Rural England

It has several national policies on climate change and renewable energy:

CPRE's policy on 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 reduce energy demand, encourage energy efficiency, promote a wider range of renewable technologies and ensure that new energy generation is lower carbon. CPRE’s energy policy highlights these important issues. This version of our policy document has been updated to take account of changes since it was originally produced in 2009.

CPRE's policy on energy - Campaign to Protect Rural England

Climate change and energy

EmPower Communities - Community energy workshop

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.
Ensuring Place-Responsive Design for Solar Photovoltaics on Buildings

Ensuring Place-Responsive Design for Solar Photovoltaics on Buildings

A good practice guide in solar PV design for designers, manufacturers and installers, with accompanying 'Solar Design Tips' leaflet aimed at homeowners themselves.
Future Energy Landscapes: A new approach to local energy planning

Future Energy Landscapes: A new approach to local energy planning

Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) have joined forces to produce this 'Future Energy Landscapes' report. It aims to bring communities together to share their passion for local landscapes with their enthusiasm for a more sustainable future.
Generating light on landscape impacts

Generating light on landscape impacts:

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.
Get generating

Get Generating

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.

Climate change and energy - Campaign to Protect Rural England

Nevertheless, the CPRE in Devon finds 'much of this high level policy is at best unhelpful to those wrestling with major planning applications for renewable energy projects':


Energy, particularly ‘renewable energy’, remains one of the most controversial areas of Government Policy. Whatever one’s views on Climate Change it is clear that the drive for renewable energy wherever it makes sense is something that CPRE Devon supports. We do not object to small turbines designed to benefit the local farmer or business. We do, however, have to do all we can to protect our precious landscape, not only for its own sake and for those who come after us, but for its importance to the local economy. Renewable energy comes in many forms from wind turbines and solar farms to anaerobic digestion and hydro schemes.
CPR National Office has published a number of documents CPRE’s Policy on EnergyA Planning Campaign Briefing on Energy infrastructure, and a Policy Guidance Note on Onshore Wind Turbines. We have also published a Renewable Energy Guide for Rural Communities and some helpful information on a Countryside Friendly Smart Grid and an independent Cost Evaluation of placing some sections of the Grid underground, and an Introduction to the National Grid in the SW Region.  We have also produced an explanation of “Fracking” for those new to the subject.  Our spokesman, Dr Philip Bratby, has also produced a comment on the proposed Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon.  CPRE Devon comment on the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon
Much of this high level policy is at best unhelpful to those wrestling with major planning applications for renewable energy projects. The sheer scale of these across Devon can be seen here. We have, therefore, held a number of Seminars to help the public understand the subject better. You can see a presentation on “Understanding Wind and Solar Power” and another on “Dealing with the Planning System”. In addition we have a handy short brief on how a Parish Council might approach dealing with a wind turbine planning application?  As ever, “Material Planning Considerations” will dominate any decision. A short “Help Desk” piece on which may apply can be read here.
The Feed-in Tariff Payment Rate Table for Non-Photovoltaic Eligible Installations for FIT Year 5 (1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015) can be found here.
As ever, once you have absorbed these documents, your local District Chair should be your first port of call, particularly if there is a new planning application near you as yet unknown to us.
On Farm Anaerobic Digesters – read Dr Phillip Bratby’s presentation which he gave at our seminar on 21st November 2015  here CPRE Devon Presentation – On Farm Anaerobic Digestors
Latest News.  November 2016.  Read our Energy Spokesman, Dr Phillip Bratby’s personal opinion, in his report dated November 2016, entitled ‘The Disastrous Impact of Renewable Energy in Devon  http://www.cpredevon.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Renewable-Energy-in-Devon.pdf       * Note: this is the personal opinion of Dr Phillip Bratby and is not necessarily endorsed by CPRE Devon.

Energy | Protecting Devon & Planning Appplications

The Western Morning News looked at the debate earlier this month:

Is renewable energy in Devon 'an unmitigated disaster'?

By JoeBulmer | Posted: June 19, 2017

"The renewable energy industry has been entirely dependent on subsidies for its growth and its survival."

Comments (5)

Countryside campaigners and renewable energy experts have clashed on how renewable energy has benefited the county, with campaigners calling it "an unmitigated disaster".

In a damning report published recently by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) Devon trustee Phillip Bratby it states that the renewable energy industry in the South West "has been entirely dependent on subsidies for its growth and its survival".

Regen South West, an independent not-for-profit organisation set up to promote renewable energy in the region, has hit back at the CPRE report.

Regen chief executive Merlin Hyman has pointed out Mr Bratby's "views on climate change and renewables are somewhat at odds with those of the scientific community and indeed of CPRE nationally who commissioned Regen to look at how we can meet the Paris Climate Change Agreement whilst minimising landscape impacts".

In the report, published on CPRE Devon's website, it states: "The renewable energy industry has been entirely dependent on subsidies for its growth and its survival. The generation of energy from ineffective and inefficient renewable sources has created subsidised employment and has thus led to a huge reduction in productivity. Wealth has been destroyed on a massive scale.

"There is no evidence that the deployment of renewable energy has led to any reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions; on the contrary, it is possible that overall, emissions have increased. The deployment of renewable energy technologies has resulted in a detrimental impact on the landscape, on tranquillity, on heritage aspects, on residential amenity, on property values, on tourism, on local businesses, on agricultural land and on grid reliability and security of supply."

Sources of renewable energy have popped up all over Devon, earlier this month a solar farm near Holsworthy had it's temporary contract extend a further 15 years.

Mr Hyman disagrees with Mr Bratby and says far from taking away from local communities renewable energy brings people together.

"The extraordinary growth we are now seeing in renewable energy across the world is a source of hope, hope we are beginning to turn the tide on climate change, hope that humanity can turn our ingenuity to looking after the one planet we have and hope that change can be led by local communities working together," said Mr Hyman.

"The first working steam engine was built by Thomas Newcomen in Dartmouth in 1710. I am proud that three hundred years later Devon is once again playing a leading role in an energy revolution, this time by harnessing our natural resources to produce clean, renewable power locally.

"Already the UK produces 25% of its electricity from renewables and I have no doubt that in the years ahead we will be charging our smart phones and powering our washing machines with clean power harnessed from the sun and the wind."

Mr Bratby suggests in his report that the county would be better served by one gas fired power station, he wrote: "The amount of renewable electricity currently generated in the whole of the South West could be produced by a single generator at a gas-fired power station for less than a seventh of the capital cost.

"No subsidies would be required. The excess cost of renewable electricity to all consumers (domestic, industrial and commercial) in Devon is over £80 million per year and in the South West is over £400 million per year. The brunt of the extra costs has been felt most by those in fuel poverty."

"I conclude that the deployment of renewable energy in Devon and the South West has been an unmitigated disaster. The only beneficiaries have been landowners,developers, foreign manufacturers and renewable energy promoters."

CPRE UK's infrastructure campaigner Daniel Carey-Dawes commented: "Phillip Bratby's report is, as the director of CPRE Devon notes, a personal one, so he is of course welcome to his opinions of renewable energy.

"CPRE is concerned about the impact of any type of energy infrastructure on our celebrated landscapes and is actively looking at ways the UK can meet its carbon reduction targets without destroying our beautiful countryside, whether in Devon or elsewhere.

"However, climate change is the most urgent and complex environmental issue this country is facing and it is already taking its toll on the English countryside. If we don't do our best to reduce its impact, within a few decades it will have altered many of our most cherished landscapes forever."

To read Mr Bratby's report click here and to find out more about Regen South West click here.

Is renewable energy in Devon 'an unmitigated disaster'? | Devon Live

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