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Green energy for special places

[Thursday 01 March 2007]
gibson mill pond

Gibson Mill: the mill pond

gibson mill solar panels

Gibson Mill: solar roofing

gibson mill solar panels

Gibson Mill: solar roofing

gibson mill

Gibson Mill
All Photos: The National Trust /
Steve Morgan

RENEWABLE energy in protected landscapes such as the Yorkshire Dales is the subject of a special awareness-raising event for planners and building conservation staff in Hebden Bridge today (1 March).

Up to 100 delegates have been invited to debate the often controversial question of renewable energy development in our most treasured landscapes and historical sites.

The event has been organised for staff employed by the five national parks and seven areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) in the north of England and the National Trust. It is being paid for by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority's Sustainable Development Fund which is administered by the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust.

The 'Renewable Energy for Protected Landscapes and Historic Buildings Event' will be hosted at the award-winning Gibson Mill - a Grade II Listed Building, and a model of sustainable development on the Hardcastle Crags estate.

Being 100% self-sufficient in its energy requirements, Gibson Mill provides a working example for the conference's main theme of "compromises and opportunities".

Rob Jarman, Head of Sustainability for the National Trust, said: "The mill provides a vision of how to marry the needs of heritage conservation with strict environmental standards".

Electricity is supplied by the reinstated 1927 original water turbine, which is backed up by photo-voltaic cells and a solar roof fitted on to the building in a sympathetic manner. Heating is provided by a biomass stove and wood burning boiler using timber harvested from Hardcastle Crags as part of the conservation woodland management.

David Butterworth, the YDNPA's Chief Executive, said: "This event aims to stimulate a healthy debate around two key issues facing our protected landscapes and historic buildings today:

  • How far should the natural beauty of the landscape and the character of historic buildings be compromised to accommodate renewable energy development?

  • What opportunities are there for renewable energy projects in areas of high landscape value and sites of historic importance?

"The event will allow us all to discuss a number of topical and contentious issues relating to renewable energy development. And, by learning from the experience of successful renewable energy projects and understanding more fully the opportunities offered by technology and architectural design, we hope to find ways in which we can give more support to appropriate local energy projects."

A summary of the debate and key points will be available shortly on the YDNPA'S website www.yorkshiredales.org.uk

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