To Save Our Heritage or Not to Save Our Environment? This is the Question

June 24, 2021

Most countries and cities are now working towards becoming net zero by 2030-2050 but what could hinder this vision is the heritage that resides within these locations.

Britain for instance has the oldest housing stock in Europe, meaning that one in five houses is more than 100 years old and is often protected by law so it would be a very long if not impossible to modify these houses and transform them into green houses.

The UK is on the path to net zero by 2050, leading the way in tackling climate change globally. Their plan aims for at least 68% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the decade, compared to 1990 levels

But what many people don’t know is that England alone has 343 local authorities and each one of them must work individually to decide how they will support the 2050 vision. Not only this, but they also must work with a budget that in some instances has not been increased since 2011.

Bath for example is a beautiful Georgian and Greek old town in England, it has 5K buildings – 10% of the total- that are listed as being special architectural of historical interest making it a criminal offence to alerted them without permission. Thirty percent of Bath’s housing stock account for 40% of domestic carbon emissions according to the centre for sustainable energy. So these airy halls and wide bright windows will need to wait for now.

What really shocked me was the fact that solar panels are permitted but must generally be kept out of sight in shaded roof. Last time I heard, they were called Solar and not Shaded Panels. As for wind turbines to be erected they will have to also wait or give up on the idea because the hills around Bath is a UNESCO Heritage so erecting them is not permitted. No wonder the Bath chapter of Extinction Rebellion is marching the streets in protests constantly.

Unless technology comes to the rescue the government, its experts and its citizens will have to decide if they sacrifice heritage to protect their environment or vice versa but until then one can only hope that they move fast as our planet is screaming.

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