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Call for election candidates to back rooftop renewables not ‘solar farms’

14th June 2024

CPRE Surrey supports de-carbonising energy production through increasing the supply of renewable energy but believes this should not be done without wrecking Surrey’s countryside. With good planning and sensible decision making it is possible to deliver a mix of renewable energy solutions of the right scale and in the right locations.

So, we are calling on all General Electon candidates seeking election in Surrey to declare their support for CPRE’s campaign for rooftop solar.i CPRE research shows that with further investment installing solar panels on existing rooftops and other developed land such as car parks could provide 117GW of energy by 2050 – well in excess of the Climate Change Committee’s 85GW target.

Says CPRE Surrey Chairman John Goodridge: “There really is no need to sacrifice the countryside and valuable agricultural land to accommodate ground-mounted solar farms when the UK has a total of 250,000 hectares of south-facing commercial roof space most of which currently is not housing solar panels. A recent survey of 3,000 CPRE supporters shows widespread support for rooftop solar – both as a government priority and on new homes. In total, 95% of respondents in that survey said the government should take a ‘rooftop-first’ approach when rolling out renewables across the country, while 97% agreed that rooftop solar should be a standard requirement on all new housing.”

CPRE Surrey also wants candidates to pledge to support the campaign for all new buildings to be designed to be carbon-neutral. “More funding should be made available for ‘retrofit’ schemes that increase the energy efficiency of existing buildings,” adds John Goodridge. “This is the way to meet net zero targets, not be blanketing our countryside with so-called solar farms.”