The National Trust, keepers of everything from the White Cliffs of Dover to the Crown Bar in County Arntrim, has vowed to reduce its emissions for heat and electricity by 45%.

And, could help the charity slash around £6m of its yearly bills for heating and electricity.

To make the cuts the trust is to introduce using more wood, solar, heat pumps, hydro and wind across its entire building stock of 300 historic houses, office buildings, visitor centres and 360 holiday cottages.

The trust has plans to install more than 50 new wood fuel boilers into its mansions and larger buildings over the next five years.

The fuel will be sourced either from the Trust’s own estates or from local suppliers, with replanting and maintenance benefiting woodland and wildlife habitats. All will be consistent with the Trust’s high aesthetic and conservation standards.

It hopes the scheme will break-even within the next 10 years, ‘even allowing for the huge variability in the price of energy and uncertainty over the future of grants and subsidies’.

The trust’s director general, Fiona Reynolds, said: “The trust has a responsibility to look after the special places in our care forever.

“By cutting our energy consumption and growing our own energy, locally, from renewable sources we will have more money to spend on the places we look after, and a more sustainable and resilient operation.

“Older buildings can play an important role in generating renewable energy and we hope to show to others how they can do the same.”

Founder of Forum for the Future, Jonathon Porritt, added: “This is exactly the kind of ambition level we need to help us navigate our way towards a low-carbon society.

“Millions of people will be inspired by the Trust’s initiative, especially on some of its older properties.

“Its members will also benefit from the cost savings that these measures will secure – at a time of growing concern about both energy and carbon prices.”

Luke Walsh

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