Climate change is the greatest threat to our countryside today. Friends of the Peak District believes that we should take steps to
- understand what impact it will have on the Peak District
- adapt to changes to the landscape
- offset the cause - by reducing energy use and generating new forms of energy that emit less or no carbon dioxide
How will it hurt the Peak District?
Scientific research suggests that the greatest threat may be to the Dark and South West Peak and their peat moorlands as the climate that sustains them will retreat north and west. We can also expect changes to the mix of plant and animal species that make up habitats such as grasslands. Water will be a key issue – as well as more extreme events, such as flooding, there will be lower summer flows in rivers and perhaps pressure to build more reservoirs in the uplands.
The urgent national need to address climate change means strong pressure on our countryside to absorb new forms of renewable energy, including wind turbines. We are very supportive of renewable energy, especially where it delivers benefits to local communities and the rural economy - read our Climate Change and Energy Policy for more details (you can also see our Sustainable Development Policy for info about other things we're doing).
We look at all proposals on a case-by-case basis and strongly support those where the benefit of new, low carbon energy is delivered without a really harmful impact on the Peak District landscapes. For instance, we've supported
- domestic scale - up to 20 metres high - wind turbines near Tideswell and Middleton-by-Youlgreave
- solar panels in Bradwell
- a new hydro electric scheme at Alport Mill on the River Lathkill
We do oppose wind farms that have a significant impact on Peak landscapes and their setting; and we actively lobby to improve the planning system so that all forms of renewable energy are steered to the most appropriate places.
Water power for the future
We've recently launched our Peak Power report about the best options for re-instating hydro power at over 150 sites across the Peak District. We have identified that current hydro power capacity (which is only about 1 megawatt, and mostly installed at reservoir outflows in the Longdendale and the Upper Derwent valleys) could be tripled. This would supply power to thousands of Peak District homes.
Other green energy
We are supporting local initiatives (for example by Sustainable Youlgreave) to use farm waste including animal slurry to create energy using a process called anaerobic digestion. We are also keen to promote more use of woodfuel in the Peak District.