The impact of sustainable energy production on land use in Britain through to 2050

D.C. Howard, R.A. Wadsworth, J.W. Whitaker, N. Hughes, R.G.H. Bunce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Historically. land use in Britain has been shaped by the environment's capacity to provide energy as well as food, water and shelter. Over the next decades, energy will again become a major driver in land cover change as we seek to capture the necessary energy to replace fossil fuels, reduce environmental damage and substitute for insecure supplies. Britain was one of the first places to exploit fossil fuels extensively. initially coal, and it has the potential to generate considerable amounts of renewable energy from tides, waves, the wind, biomass and sunlight. The UK Government's policy is to develop a suite of technologies that will provide a resilient supply without compromising its economy or its international commitments to environmental protection. This paper examines the three major terrestrial options for renewable energy and assesses each by successively filtering them for feasibility, achievability and practicality incorporating existing developments, designation and public opinion. Technology and opinion are dynamic, so the outputs need to be viewed as indicative of alternative scenarios rather than as fixed forecasts. Implications for changes in the energy supply infrastructure needed to match the new supply chains are highlighted. The demand for energy depends on the demographic profile (Population size, age distribution, lifestyle and expectations) and on economic activity. Here total demand is predicted using the UK Energy Research Centre's Energy 2050 model, which uses linear programming to balance economics and environmental capacity by major demand sectors in five-year time steps. The core model often generates challenging results. (C) 2009 Queen's Printer and Controller of HMSO
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S284-S292
JournalLand Use Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • uk
  • increases
  • biofuels
  • crops


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