Myth : Rural areas have a low carbon footprint

Rural communities often have higher carbon footprints than their urban counterparts as well as significant quality of air issues. This is due to a number of factors: the need to drive longer distances, a lack of energy choice leading to the use of polluting fuels (coal, heating oil, wood), and the agricultural output of greenhouse gases

Join the FREE network

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Since its creation in 2010, the Future of Rural Energy in Europe (FREE) initiative concentrated on raising awareness about the critical situation of European rural areas when it comes to energy provision and energy use. With its network of supporting organisations and regions, FREE aims to alert policymakers – both at EU and national levels – about the series of challenges faced by rural energy users.

These include the low levels of energy efficiency in homes and commercial buildings, climate change and air quality issues due to the fuels used and the sometimes acute issues of energy affordability and availability in remote rural regions.

This pan-European platform is aimed at promoting the use of sustainable energy within rural communities through research, energy advice and promotion of lower carbon energy options available to consumers living beyond the natural gas grid. The FREE initiative includes active national chapters in Germany, Ireland, Poland and the UK.

FREE was created and funded by SHV Energy in 2010, and is meanwhile supported by a wide variety of groups and individuals which are committed to realising the potential of rural communities through greater energy choice. It includes technology providers, rural projects, civil society, regional representations, members of the European Parliament, and other rural actors.