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Climate change and energy

Elizabeth Hamilton

Climate change is one of the biggest threats facing our countryside. We need to drastically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. But there’s good news: the countryside can provide many of the solutions.

CPRE is part of a national coalition calling for urgent action. We believe the UK should meet net zero emissions as soon as possible. A credible carbon reduction strategy needs to value the countryside and be aligned with a land use planning and transport strategy that emphasises regeneration, walkable neighbourhoods, low car dependency and traffic reduction.

The countryside has a valuable role as a carbon sequester. In line with this we advocate planting more trees, protecting and extending hedgerows, and taking better care of our soils.

The countryside also has an incredibly important role in agriculture and food production – and the government has reaffirmed UK domestic food security as a strategic priority.

However, with widespread awareness of the need to mitigate climate change, there have been a large number of new proposals for ‘greenfield’ solar farms all across England and here in Hertfordshire. We believe solar energy has a role to play in our collective action against climate change, but not at the expense of the environment. We want to see solar panels on rooftops and on brownfield sites, not on greenfield sites, agricultural land, or designated protected land such as the Green Belt.

We are increasingly concerned as we learn about more proposals for industrial-scale commercial solar farms around Hertfordshire. We have developed our CPRE Hertfordshire policy on ground mounted solar installations.

And we are tracking these proposals in our solar inventory. (Updated 18 July 2022). If you know of any proposals not listed, please do get in touch and let us know, so that we can keep this inventory up to date.

a dark sky at night with hundreds of stars visible in the milky way overhead