Government should assess the impact of different renewable and green initiatives to better inform long-term decisions
Environmentalists, the energy industry, and government must work together to find ways of responding to climate change, according to Natural England.
The environmentalist organisation made the announcement as it launched new policies to promote sustainable energy and help tackle climate change.
Sir Martin Doughty, chair of Natural England, said: "The challenge is to work with the energy industry and government to find the right places for the right technologies."
Natural England says the government must undertake a strategic assessment of the environmental impact of different renewable and clean energy developments in order to better inform long-term decisions by policy makers and investors.
Doughty however warned: "An ad-hoc, uncoordinated response to climate change could do as much harm as good. In the rush to switch to cleaner and renewable energy options we must make use of our resources in a way that doesn't have a detrimental effect on the environment and the range of services it provides.
"As part of its response to climate change Natural England will help point the development of new wind farms to the right places. We want to ensure that new sites are able to maximise the generation capacity while minimising their effect on the natural environment."
Natural England calls for• The government to implement a UK-wide environmental assessment of renewable energy. We need to know what will work long-term to inform decisions made by policymakers and investors.
• Greater government and industry support and incentives for communities to deliver micro and community scale renewables projects, such as domestic wind turbines and greater access to the national grid.
• A national adaptation framework to ensure that our national response to climate change is co-ordinated, based on agreed principles and, critically, effective. We need to avoid making decisions in one area that will adversely affect another.
• A planning system, on land and at sea, which anticipates climate change and delivers adaptation opportunities.
• Better environmental standards applied to bioenergy so consumers can be sure that the biofuels they purchase have a net benefit to the environment.
• Land managers, especially in upland peat areas, should be incentivised to manage their land in a way which delivers environmental benefits such as flood management, nature conservation and carbon management.
• Practical action to demonstrate what responding to climate change looks like across a range of habitats so as a society we learn how to react to the changes which will happen.
• Natural England is committed to reducing its own greenhouse gas pollution by 50% by 2010.
Natural England works for people, places and nature to conserve and enhance biodiversity, landscapes and wildlife in rural, urban, coastal and marine areas. For more information visit Natural England.