Yes we can! – Renewable energy and sustainability in the  Peak Park

At our latest public talk,  Emily Fox , the Peak Park’s head of strategy, described how they want to support developments which reduce carbon emissions – albeit within the National Park planning guidelines,  which do  impose some restrictions.  Their policy says: “Proposals for low carbon and renewable energy development will be encouraged, provided they can be accommodated without adversely affecting landscape character, cultural heritage assets, other valued characteristics, or other established uses of the area”   They encourage people exploring improvements to the homes to contact their planning officials for pre-application advice, and they have produced  general indicators of what may and may not be OK .   (For example solar thermal panels, photovoltaic panels, ground or water source heat pumps and biomass boilers may not need planning permission,  but permission may also  be  granted for other technologies.)

To encourage people within the national park to adopt sustainable energy, they have produced five case studies of what can be done .  (Along with videos of two of the case studies.)

Technologies used in the case studies include ground-source heat pump, air-source heat pump,  wind turbine , hydroelectric mill wheel and photovoltaic solar panels to generate electricity,  high levels of insulation (including sheep’s wool), wood-pellet boiler, wood-burning stoves, and sunpipes.    They cover both new-build, and upgrading of existing properties.

The same page also links to the Peak Park’s “Climate Change and Sustainable Building: Supplementary Planning Document”.  This contains detailed practical guidance and advice on sustainable building, energy efficiency, low carbon and renewable energy, and water management, and relates it to the planning considerations.

Incidentally, the Friend of the Peak also have useful material on reducing carbon emissions, including a detailed study of the potential for  small-scale hydro power in the  Peak District.

The “Supplementary Planning Document” also contains a nice picture illustrating a vision for a sustainable National Park.


  1. Energy efficiency improvements to the farmhouse; biomass boiler or ground (or air) source heat pump.
  2. Converted traditional building taking an energy efficiency approach; also considering ground or air source heat pumps. Photovoltaic solar slates on south facing roof that have the appearance of traditional slates.
  3. Solar panels on south facing roofs of portal framed farm buildings. These should be dark in colour, with a dark frame.
  4. Solar panels (photovoltaic or water
  5. Small-scale hydro power scheme in a converted mill building.
  6. Small-scale anaerobic digester dealing with ‘on farm’ generated slurry. Can be sited in an existing yard area, with the apparatus being generally undergrounded so that the exposed parts are no higher than the existing walls. Screen with a drystone wall to match the existing.
  7. Wind turbine in a Landscape Type that has capacity for wind turbine development and in scale with the group of buildings, located as near to them as turbine performance allows and taking account of topple distance. Protected species issues will need to be taken into consideration.

Emily also  talked  what the  Park has done, and is doing,  to make  their own operations more sustainable  – more info here.

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