Earthsummit 2002 - A guide to UK Local Agenda 21 renewable energy projects. Earthsummit 2002
Home Page > Community.



A community wind turbine solar pack.

The world's environmental problems sometimes look overwhelming, but some of them can be addressed by local - level initiatives. The idea was enshrined in the 'Local Agenda 21' process that emerged from the first United Nations Earth Summit in Rio in 1992. Local councils were asked to work with local organisations to develop plans for local - level sustainable development.

Many of the Local Agenda 21 projects tend to be 'demonstration' projects designed with an educational or public service element. And some are quite small.

It may seem a long way off from small community PV or hydro projects to solving the world's energy problems but 'thinking globally and acting locally' is one way forward. It can provide the impetus for larger projects. It also helps local people to have a say and to begin to tackle problems directly. It can also help create jobs locally and strengthen the local economy.

The potential is vast. For example farmers can use some of their land for growing energy crops - and this could be a major source not only of energy but also of employment.

The virtue of local involvement with planning and developing local projects is that local people can have more of a say in how technology is developed and over which technology is developed.

That's what is meant by the term sustainable development - projects which are both environmentally and socially acceptable. In the end it all comes down to the question of what sort of society and what sort of future we want. Clean, safe and renewable sources of power exist.

In the UK we are beginning to see renewables becoming an everyday part of our way of generating power. Bill Richmond is Renewables Manager for TXU Energis: "think local people can have an impact not only on the electricity they buy but also supporting projects as they come forward and we are seeing some movement towards community owned projects. If we look at Bay Wind in Cumbria the community has a significant stake in their own wind farm."

© Ambit Interactive 2002
This web site has been produced with funding from
The Open University
The DTI's New and Renewable Energy Programme
Scottish and Southern Energy plc.