Dear Editor, It’s disappointing to read that Birmingham City Council rejected an inspirational plan for renewable energy in the city just two days after signing up to the 10:10 campaign and launching its own Green New Deal. (www.birminghampost.net)
On Thursday, February 4, planning permission was refused for a photovoltaic array which would have been housed on St Mary’s church in Moseley.
The solar panels would have generated 8,000 kWh of renewable electricity each year, most of which would be fed back into the grid, generating income for the parish.
The scheme has been blocked by the actions of just a few short-sighted members of the planning committee in an exceptionally close ballot – the votes were six in favour and seven against.
Fears that the solar panels would detract from the aesthetic appearance of the grade II listed church have been shown to be unfounded by the Sustainable Moseley group, and the National Trust has also recognised that climate change poses a significant threat to our heritage and in 2008 led the way by installing solar panels on a grade I listed building.
The project had also been earmarked for a £30,000 grant from British Gas which shows that even the energy giants are recognising the role that renewals will make in ensuring the UK does not face an energy crisis in years to come.
If Birmingham City Council really wants to show it is committed to achieving its aspiration of cutting 60 per cent of CO2 emissions by 2026 then it will need to support ambitious renewable energy schemes such as this one in Moseley.
After years of paying lip service to sustainability, it would be good to see Birmingham City Council take steps for real action. Or is this too much to expect when they announced their 10:10 commitment on February 2, also known as Groundhog Day?