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2008 - Climate Change

Climate change is one of the most important issues facing society in the 21st Century and poses significant challenges for the historic environment. In 2008 'Heritage Counts' focused on this topic.

Solar panels at Dunster Castle
Solar panels at Dunster Castle © National Trust and Alan Watson

The historic environment sector’s statement on climate change

For 'Heritage Counts 2008', The Historic Environment Forum produced these six statements which define the approach of the historic environment to climate change:

  • The historic environment is a finite resource and we have a responsibility to maintain it for future generations
  • Changing people’s behaviour is just as important as improving the energy performance of buildings in decreasing carbon emissions
  • It is possible to respond to climate change and improve the energy efficiency of older buildings without destroying their distinctive character and value
  • Re-use and recycling of older buildings is sustainable
  • The historic environment and patterns of development can inform and inspire us on how to live in a lower carbon economy
  • Some parts of the historic environment will be lost as a result of climate change. Some will need to be adapted to avoid permanent damage

The historic environment’s response to climate change

'Heritage Counts 2008' also includes information on how the sector is responding to the challenges of climate change. Actions taken include:

  • High-quality research deepening our understanding of how to make historic buildings more energy efficient
  • Using renewable energy sources within the historic environment without harming its character
  • Adaptation to climate change and securing the historic environment for future generations
  • Biofuels and the management of the historic environment
  • Mitigation solutions which reduce the sector’s carbon emissions

Please see regional Heritage Counts 2008 documents for specific regional information on climate change.

Cottam Power Station, Lincolnshire
Cottam Power Station, Lincolnshire © Council for British Archaeology
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