The Cotswolds Conservation Board has outlined its stance on renewable energy.

In a statement issued this week the Board has indicated the types of green energy technology that it sees as appropriate for use within the Area of Natural Beauty.

The Board is advising planning authorities that large-scale wind farms and biomass incineration plants are incompatible with the need to protect the Cotswolds landscape for future generations.

At the same time the Board voiced its support for other forms of renewable energy and announced a study into appropriate alternatives to industrial scale developments.

The statement, which has been sent out to the seventeen planning authorities in the Area, says that "small scale renewable energy projects may well be able to be accommodated within the landscape without causing harm. However, what constitutes small, and the significance of any visual impact, must be defined by the critical characteristics which make that landscape special."

Niel Curwen, Chairman of the Conservation Board, said: "The Board wishes to make clear that it is not against renewable energy development in the Cotswolds. However, it does wish to provide guidance on which types of technology are likely to be acceptable in this beautiful area. Other than large scale wind farms or biomass incinerators, there are likely to be many other types of energy generation which are of a small enough scale to fit into the landscape."

Likely alternatives include small windturbines and solar panels which could be fitted to houses, hydro energy and bio-fuel.

One of the Board's key roles is to act in an advisory capacity to planning authorities to ensure that the national and international value of the area is consistently conserved and enhanced.

This Board's statement concludes: "Projects which are close to existing settlements, where the impact of man made structures are more prevalent, will be more acceptable than projects in the open countryside where visual clutter should be avoided. All renewable energy proposals must be justified by reference to a landscape character assessment."

The Board believes that it should be possible to make an acceptable contribution to the required amount of renewable energy generated within the AONB by using forms of green technology of a scale appropriate to the landscape.