Memorandum from The Council for National
The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution
has recommended a 60 per cent reduction on CO2 emissions
by 2050 in order to begin to overturn the increasingly negative
impacts of climate change, acidification and pollution. CNP considers
that we all need to play our part and take responsibility for
facilitating a reduction in emissions of this magnitude. The National
Parks, which are designated because of their exceptional landscape
qualities and cover 10 per cent of the land of England and Wales,
are no exception. Indeed:
National Parks are in a strong position
to influence the way we care for our countryside, to be models
for the sustainable management of the wider countryside, and to
help further understanding of the means by which development and
conservation can be better balanced.
CNP advocates the use of our National Parks
as exemplars in the sustainable use of energy. Good examples of
how this can be achieved in a way that contributes to sustainable
development already exist (see below), although there is still
a long way to go. The wise use of energy must, however, be developed
with the wider goal of sustainable development in mind, such that:
The countryside should be protected
for the sake of its landscape, natural resources and its agricultural,
ecological, geological, physiographical, historical, archaeological
and recreational value.
The Government's policy is that the
countryside should be safeguarded for its own sake.
Government planning policy towards
the National Parks is that major development should not take place
in these areas save in exceptional circumstance. Because of the
serious impact that major developments may have on their natural
beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage, applications for such
developments must be demonstrated to be in the public interest
before being allowed to proceed.
Areas of high/national landscape value such
as National Parks should thus be avoided for large-scale renewable
energy schemes, as these would conflict with their statutory purposes,
which include the conservation and enhancement of their natural
beauty. There is nonetheless a whole range of measures and practices
that are desirable and suitable for adoption in National Parks.
This short submission gives a flavour of what more could be done.
Electricity demand is expected to double by
2020. A greater policy emphasis is needed on promoting energy
conservation and efficiency across all sectors (to deliver the
prudent use of natural resources element of the UK Sustainable
Development Strategy) accompanied by targets for demand as well
as supply. The UK Government has recognised that a "step
change" in thinking is overdue, and is now aiming for a tenfold
improvement in energy efficiency.
Energy efficiency measures should therefore be central to the
UK's energy strategy.
We consider that links between renewable energy,
energy conservation and demand management are vital. National
Parks are well placed to be role models for the development of
small-scale sustainable energy schemes. They should be encouraged
to facilitate more sustainable energy schemes in their areas and
to provide greater information on the possibilities for these.
We will say more about this below.
There is a need for the development and stimulation
of a broad mix of renewable energy technologies both because of
the benefits of renewable energy and to increase the diversity
of energy supply and avoid the renewables market (and the debate)
continuing to be monopolised by large-scale onshore wind generation.
There is a need to consider the clean-up costs of projects which
reach the end of their useful lifereversibility and whole
If it is to be successfully deployed UK-wide
without public opposition, renewable energy development needs
to be taken forward at a scale appropriate to its siting and surroundings.
This could be assisted by the adoption of a sequential approach.
This would be particularly beneficial for onshore wind generation.
Urgent consideration should be given as to how onshore wind schemes
can be developed in transport corridors, areas of low wind speed
and brown field sites and away from areas of great landscape value.
Adopting a sequential approach in guidance would help in this
respect and for this reason CNP would very much support the introduction
of a sequential approach along similar lines to that advocated
by the Countryside Agency.
In such a sequential approach, it should be
made clear that areas of high/national landscape value such as
National Parks should be avoided for large-scale schemes, as these
would conflict with their statutory objectives, particularly the
conservation/enhancement of natural beauty.
A strategic approach to planning for renewables
which takes greater account of National Park statutory purposes
at earlier stages is necessary. This is because the development
of renewable energies can have adverse impacts on National Park
Development of small and domestic-scale projects
in the National Parks is already underway. These are good examples
of how renewable energy can be developed in ways that support
the delivery of National Park purposes. For example, CNP supports
the efforts of the three National Parks in Wales in facilitating
appropriate solutions locally, particularly through the Environment
Tidal Power Generationgroundbreaking
project being pioneered by Tidal Hydraulic Generators Ltda
consortium of local engineering contractors.
SEED (Sustainable Energy and Environmental
Development)raising the profile of small-scale renewable
energy in Pembrokeshire.
The Pembrokeshire Biofuel Partnershipheating
conversion feasibility study.
Penpont Biomass Projectfeasibility
study into energy-generation using local wood.
Brecon Beacons Solar Clubcurrently
working to evolve into an all-Wales Solar Club.
These schemes also have the benefit of being
advertised publicly, which helps raise public awareness about
the need to develop renewable energy and to reduce energy consumption.
Local Planning Authorities (including National
Park Authorities) should be encouraged to adopt best practice
and positive policies on sustainable energy including through
their Development Plan, internal housekeeping policies and work
with local communities. Consideration should be given to establishing
locally administered funding streams for the development of small-scale
community-based sustainable energy schemes (eg solar clubs). Local
Planning Authorities are well placed to advise on possible funding
streams. This could be done on a joint basis (eg between National
Park Authorities and other Local Planning Authorities). This would
help raise public awareness about the need to develop renewable
energy and the availability of renewable energy in the area. The
Countryside Agency's Community Renewables Initiative (see Annex
1) has great potential to deliver appropriate schemes.
National Parks have a significant capacity to
promote small-scale energy solutions and energy efficiency initiatives.
National Parks are ideal settings for promoting sustainability
issues, including energy issues. Our uplands often receive severe
weather. If buildings in the uplands can conserve energy and can
be showcased as energy efficient while retaining comfort (warmth)
levels, and get planning approval too, then this might provide
the good practice examples that can inspire and help motivate
people and raise awareness of what is possible and feasible. People
also tend to be more receptive to environmental issues in a beautiful
setting in open countryside.
The Environment Development Fund administered
by the three National Parks in Wales has facilitated the funding
of a number of energy-related projects including:
Idwal Cottage Youth Hostel near Llyn
Ogwen has received grant assistance from the Environment Development
Fund through the Snowdonia National Park Authority to develop
the Youth Hostel into a model "Green" Youth Hostel and
promote wider understanding of sustainability.
Local communities are working with
the National Parks in Wales in developing a three-Park initiative
that is considering how to use energy more wisely. In the Brecon
Beacons National Park, the community of Talybont on Usk is developing
a project to look at how homes, businesses and community buildings
in Talybont can become more energy efficient. The community will
link up with residents of Ysbyty Ifan in Snowdonia National Park,
who will be undertaking a similar venture. The initiative has
been made possible with funding from the Environment Development
There is clearly an interest among the public,
but good practice examples and showcasing of practical possibilities
need to be encouraged. The Environment Development Fund has given
a hint of what is possible. More could be done on Park-wide or
community-wide basis in this respect.
That is, increasing the productivity with which
we use natural resources, eliminating waste and reinvesting in
the renewal of natural resources so that the raw material, the
natural "capital" remains "in the bank" and
is available for reuse without depreciation. In short, it means
taking less natural resource to deliver more at lower cost. Resource
efficiency saves, for example, wasted Kilowatt-hours and travel
hours, barrels of oil, and forests of ancient trees discarded
as paper and pulp.
Practical example of resource (energy) efficiency:
A 107,000 square foot engineering
laboratory built at De Montfort Univeristy in Leicester eliminated
all of its chillers and fans, maintained comfort and cut about
£1 million out of its construction costs.
The Welsh Development Agency has made a start
on the lean technology agenda through its Lean Methodologies Programme,
which uses "a rigorous methodology to improve processes,
reduce waste and increase customer satisfaction". CNP asks
the Committee to consider how the Government can further promote
the development and main-stream integration of lean and closed-loop
technologies, and how the significance of energy efficiency and
sustainability will be positively promoted in this context.
Competitive advantage from such superior performances
does not evolve gradually, but needs to be a deliberate effort
to create a resource efficient or "closed loop" technology.
Closed loop innovations include:
A highly efficient method of removing
and reconstituting ink from printed paper in a continuous loop.
Manufacturing using primary products is therefore minimised. Further,
the de-inked and recycled paper from this process lasts 10-13
times longer than conventionally recycled paper. This results
in huge natural resource savings whilst increasing labour and
Continuous recycling of synthetic
carpet back into itself results in a closed manufacturing loop,
where the use of natural resources is minimal. Leasing carpet
tiles rather than selling them allows the company to retain control
over the life of the product, and hence ensure that the product
is continuously recycled rather than wasted/thrown away when worn.
Net employment has increased (less manufacturing but more upkeep).
The principle of closed loop technologies could
apply to a host of industries, eg white goods and cars. For instance,
Daimler Chrysler, in conjunction with other companies, is researching
to develop new processes that can recover as much reusable material
as possible from end-of-life vehicles. The project is subsidised
by the German Federal Minister of Education and Research.
In Wales, Cymad has been researching the potential
for Welsh wool to be used as insulation and has discovered that
it is in fact the best wool for the job! The project is also in
the process of setting up a centre to produce fertiliser from
the waste wool in a "closed loop" system that would
use the waste wool from the insulation plant. This is being made
possible with a grant from the Environment Development Fund (administered
by the Snowdonia National Park Authority).
CNP is calling for:
A step change in resource productivity
and energy efficiency.
Introduction of a broad mix of renewables
to encourage diversity of supply.
A recognition that we all need to
take responsibility for our energy consumption. We should not
rely solely on large-scale technological fixes that will allow
the rest of us to think that we can continue with "business
as usual". A very wide uptake of small-scale applications
and energy efficiency measures would have a hugely beneficial
National Parks to be used as exemplars
in the sustainable use of energy and a recognition that National
Parks will continue to be protected from large-scale developments
that are incompatible with their statutory purposes.
The establishment of locally-administered
funding streams for the development of small-scale community-based
sustainable energy schemes.
More emphasis to be given to the
need for public education on the importance of using energy more
1 NAW Circular 13/99, DoE Circular 12/96. Back
Planning Guidance [Wales] Planning Policy First Revision, para
PPG7, para 2.14. Back
Welsh Office Circular 13/99, PPG7 (para 4.5). Back
Section 61, Environment Act 1995. Back
Speech by the Rt Hon Margaret Beckett MP, Sec of State for Environment,
to Environment Forum, 24-10-01. Back
The Environment Development is a £3 million fund set up
by the National Assembly for Wales to test-bed initiatives that
contribute to sustainable development. The three National Parks
in Wales are administering the fund in their areas. Back