Published: 15 April 2015 at 13:46
Report by Anglia Ruskin for CPRE shows need for increased funding for rural areas.
A new report published today [17 April] by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) shows that a huge investment in energy efficiency is needed if the country is to meet its 2050 carbon reduction targets and reduce avoidable large infrastructure projects, such as nuclear power stations, wind turbines and solar farms, in rural areas.
The Warm and Green report is based on research carried out by Anglia Ruskin University and Cambridge Architectural Research and asserts that energy efficiency has been grossly underplayed in discussions and policy decisions around the UK’s future energy supply.
The report illustrates what a major programme of home energy improvements could mean alongside the potential impact of infrastructure on the countryside. It also highlights the shortage of funding for improvements in rural areas.
Warm and Green highlights that, in the context of likely future scenarios, an ambitious retrofitting programme could cut carbon emissions from homes by 44%. Yet the research shows that even if such upgrades are carried out, the country would still be considerably short of meeting energy demand while cutting carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.
The report includes case studies from across England which explore motivations for and barriers to making energy improvements in rural homes and community buildings. It finds that cost, the difficulty of finding skilled installers and payback time are barriers that are too high for many people to overcome.
To ensure progress on reducing our energy demand, the report calls for a bold national programme to reduce energy and carbon emissions from homes and community buildings; the implementation of stronger zero carbon standards for new homes; and for rural communities to receive a fairer share of funding for energy efficiency.
Around 18% of the population live in rural areas, but those areas receive less than 1% of funding for energy efficiency improvements. While all English communities have faced increasing energy costs since 2003, rural communities contend with comparatively lower home energy efficiency and higher energy costs.
Nick Clack, Senior Energy Campaigner at the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), said:
Dr Chris Foulds, of Anglia Ruskin University’s Global Sustainability Institute, said: