By Tony Henthorn


07590 750128

Renewable energy and energy efficiency

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) in Cambridgshire is confronting major development proposals which impact on our market towns, villages and countryside.  

The demand and location for thousands of new homes and major road schemes could result in the loss of Green Belt, attractive landscapes and some of the country’s best high quality farmland,

There has been a huge increase in proposals for renewable energy developments. Whilst CPRE is broadly sympathetic to the need to reduce carbon emissions, we have to respond to vociferous concerns about the impact of on-shore wind turbines and solar farms which have an unacceptable impact on the landscape.

New research by Cambridge Architectural Research and Anglia Ruskin University, commissioned by CPRE, shows current Government policy may be misguided. It suggests we need a massive reduction in our energy requirements if we are to avoid inflicting widespread damage on the countryside.

Our Warm and Green report claims energy efficiency has been grossly underplayed in the approach to England’s future energy supply. 

The report highlights the potentially huge impact of infrastructure on the countryside if old and new homes remain energy inefficient, and illustrates the dearth of funding for improvements, especially in rural areas.

To meet the UK’s carbon targets, one possible scenario would be to plant half of England with biomass crops, build 3,500 new wind turbines and install 8,000 hectares of new solar panels.

Researchers based in Cambridge looked at case studies from across the country to explore barriers to making energy improvements in rural buildings. They found cost, the difficulty of finding skilled installers and payback time were problems too great for many people to overcome.

To ensure progress on reducing our energy demand, the report calls for:

  • A bold national programme to reduce energy and carbon emissions from homes and community buildings
  • The implementation of stronger zero carbon standards for new homes
  • Rural communities to receive a fairer share of funding for energy efficiency.

Existing national programmes have failed to sufficiently reduce energy and carbon emissions. We must instead offer more persuasive and understandable financial incentives for all households.   

Such approaches would reduce both carbon emissions and energy bills, create jobs and help protect our landscapes.

To find out more about energy efficiency incentives in your area, we suggest you contact your District Council. To find out more about CPRE please e-mail our office at, visit our website: or call 01480 39698.

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