National Park bosses are to restate their commitment to encouraging more renewable energy projects in the North York Moors.
The National Park Authority said there is a balancing act between promoting methods to create renewable energy and its remit to enhance and protect the natural beauty of the Moors landscape.
Today authority members will hear the two aims are not mutually exclusive, although community renewable energy officer Peter Jones said it was inevitable some schemes would conflict with the National Park Authority’s remit.
However, he said the authority has approved 93 per cent of planning applications for renewable energy schemes, including nine of the 11 applications for wind turbines.
“The authority has a clear stance on renewable energy,” said Mr Jones in a report to authority members at today’s meeting.
“It will support small scale developments that do not have an unacceptable negative impact on the special qualities of the National Park.”
A three-year pilot for the Community Renewable Energy project ““ for the four communities of Danby, Appleton-le-Moors and Spaunton, Staithes and Botton ““ comes to an end in August but the National Park Authority hopes the scheme could be extended for three years.
It will hear in the next few weeks whether it has been successful in bids for the necessary cash from the EU and regional development agency Yorkshire Forward.
The three-year scheme had a range of aims, the main one being cutting carbon dioxide emissions. Linked to that is raising awareness of the issue, monitoring current energy use and looking at how that can be reduced, and producing as much energy as possible from renewable sources.
Mr Jones will bring authority members up to date with progress so far, reporting that most local meetings had been well-attended, indicating a high level of interest from communities involved.
Villagers from Danby and Botton and residents in Appleton-le-Moors and Spaunton have set up energy groups to pursue local projects and carry out research, with the latter further advanced, having set up a “community interest company”. That will manage installations and plough back any profits into more renewable energy schemes or local community projects.
Both groups have acted as points of contacts for queries about energy efficiency and renewables, helping to organise training and visiting homes to offer advice. Both are monitoring energy use in their communities and investigating renewable energy projects.
The Danby and Botton group have commissioned a study into the viability of hydro-electric power from a series of weirs on the River Esk, while Appleton and Spaunton are evaluating a potential wood-fuelled community district heating scheme and a wind turbine near Spaunton Quarry.
More full information will be available next year but early research shows all the communities are about average in terms of carbon dioxide emissions, apart from Botton, which was slightly below average.
Mr Jones said measures installed already, including solar panels and heat exchange pumps, should have a positive impact on those levels.
By Julie Hemmings
26 March 2007
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