Planning for a low-carbon future in the national parks

CSE presents the case for community involvement

3 December 2012

How can communities in some of the most precious parts of the British countryside make their contribution to a low-carbon future? And how can local planning policy help? These were just two of the questions addressed by James Ryle, CSE’s Head of Local and Community Empowerment, at a recent conference of planners from all the UK’s national parks.

The conference, which took place in Windermere in the Lake District during November, brought together planning officers from each of the National Park Authorities in England, Scotland and Wales to examine the opportunities for planning policy in the national parks to help tackle climate change, for example by encouraging appropriate renewable energy developments and more energy efficient buildings.

James gave a keynote address focusing on the need to establish public consent for planning policies related to energy and climate change, and showcasing some case studies from CSE’s PlanLoCaL resource pack of what happens when local communities take local action to develop their own renewable energy projects.

In parallel with a number of other workshops, James then ran two interactive sessions with CSE’s PlanLoCaL model to highlight the many opportunities in typical urban and rural settings for securing local renewable energy supplies and improving the energy efficiency of buildings.

Delegates had the opportunity to witness how small-scale renewable energy developments can help build the resilience of local economies when they visited the Kirkstone Pass Inn. This 500-year-old off-grid pub, the highest in Cumbria, now uses three 5kW wind turbines to meet around half of its electricity demand, providing a much-needed buffer against rising diesel costs.

Here's an example of the kind of project James was referring to. This video – produced by for CSE's PlanLoCaL project – looks at how residents of two villages in the North York Moors have entered into partnership with a local landowner to manage a woodland for woodfuel.

Photo: rojabro, reproduced under creative commons | See rojabro's flickr photostream here

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