Cefn hill from Vagar Hill

Climate change is the most urgent and complex environmental issue we face today.

Farming and rural communities are already suffering the effects of wetter winters, more storms, high winds and shifting seasons. As sea levels rise, we’re likely to see dramatic further changes. In the East of England we will lose fens, beaches and probably entire villages too.

Our high-carbon economy, based on roads and airport expansion, and energy-wasting buildings, needs to make way for low-carbon, carefully planned development. CPRE have been championing this kind of development for many years. We’re already seeing what will happen if we do not make the switch.

Onshore Wind Turbines

The decisions we make to mitigate climate change will have a lasting effect on the countryside. Alongside measures to address energy conservation and demand, CPRE believes we must choose an appropriate mix of renewable energy technologies and deploy them in a way, which safeguards the countryside and protects valued landscapes.

Onshore wind will undoubtedly play a role in any mix but questions remain over how much capacity we need from this source and where it should be located.

Local communities increasingly feel that individual onshore wind applications, which are proliferating rapidly, are unconnected to any wider national renewable energy strategy. Read the CPRE report: Generating light on landscape impacts

We can still halt further destruction, but we need to take action immediately.

We urgently need to halt the damage to our countryside, by reducing the amount we consume overall and using our natural resources more responsibly.

We need to use the energy we consume more efficiently and reduce our overall demand for energy to help meet the UK’s target of reducing greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide emissions, by at least 80% by 2050.

Energy companies should be encouraged to deliver energy reduction and efficiency, not simply lower prices. Energy users should be equipped with smart meters and smart grids to see how much energy they use, and sell any excess electricity back to the grid. We want to see checks on fossil fuel production, and encourage the use of renewable or low-carbon energy sources so that communities can produce their own electricity and heat.