National Trust statement on hydro schemes

Patrick Begg, Rural Enterprises Director at the National Trust, said: “We have committed to meeting half of our energy needs from renewable sources by 2020, reducing our overall energy use by 20%. We are playing our part in tackling climate change, which is a huge threat to special places.

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Statement on the proposed hydroelectric scheme in the Conwy Valley

RWE Innogy Ltd is proposing to develop a hydroelectric scheme on the River Conwy. We have agreed to allow a part of the renewable energy project to be built on our land.

This is not a National Trust project and the scheme could continue without our involvement. We feel that being actively involved in the scheme so far has however allowed us to influence the design and impact of the construction in a way that we believe has delivered an environmentally sustainable and aesthetically beneficial proposal.

We have fed into the hydro proposal and have consistently engaged with a broad range of stakeholders both locally and more widely on the proposals, including Snowdonia Society and Save Our Conwy. Our specific involvement has been in developing the design of the weir on Trust land and influencing the design of the turbine and outfall on neighbouring land. More recently we have also been advising on the protection of specific trees.

We recognise that standing aside from or opposing the scheme would not have stopped its development.

We have always been acutely aware that there are environmental and social impacts to consider and have carried out all the necessary due diligence that we can on the project. We have been  further reassured that Natural Resources Wales, as the statutory consultee to the proposal, and as the government body responsible for protecting the environment and its natural resources, has assessed the potential impacts and made no objection so far to the scheme.

We will continue to act in good faith to all sides in this ongoing discussion and have an open mind with regards to any changes to the proposed development, or any new evidence. If we feel there is any substantive change in this matter then we will obviously reconsider our position.

National Trust unveils highlights of its Theatre line-up at BBC Countryfile Live

August sees the first ever BBC Countryfile Live at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire which aims to celebrate all aspects of the British countryside.

The British coast and countryside are loved and admired around the world. But, behind the stunning scenery and breath-taking views, there are important questions and controversial issues affecting the future of rural Britain.

Close view of the Pennine Way path at Standedge on Marsden Moor, West Yorkshire

Close view of the Pennine Way path at Standedge on Marsden Moor showing cracks in the Moss beyond, seen under a stormy sky with the sun under dark clouds.  Credit NT Images & Joe Cornish

A series of thought-provoking debates on the most important  issues affecting rural Britain is scheduled over the course of the four days in the National Trust Theatre.

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Shell founders house goes green

A National Trust property, once owned by the family that founded the Shell oil company, has made the switch from oil to a renewable energy heating system.
Upton House 1.jpg
Upton House, in Warwickshire, was using 25,000 litres of oil each year to heat the estate. It now produces the equivalent energy from two new wood pellet boilers, which is enough to heat eleven average sized houses. This will save £6,000 a year on heating bills and 55 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
The successful completion of the Upton House and Gardens project is the first milestone in the Trust’s £30 million investment programme in renewable energy, announced last year, to heat and power some of its historic places [1].
The estate and gardens were gifted to the Trust by owner, and then Shell chairman, Lord Bearsted, in 1948.
Ed Wood, the Trust’s renewables project manager at Upton House, said: “The irony that the estate was owned by a family whose fortune was built on oil was not lost on us when we started our project to take Upton off this fossil fuel.
“In the past, oil was the most effective way to heat the property. Times have changed and to lower our carbon emissions and meet our targets to generate 50 per cent of all energy we use from renewable sources by 2020 we felt it important to change our energy source here.”
The property removed four oil boilers, and in doing so, the associated risks of oil leaks. The new biomass boilers, with the wood pellets sourced from the UK, are heating the house, property offices, the squash court gallery, restaurant and cottage. 
Julie Smith, General Manager at Upton House, said: “Installing the new heating system has met the energy needs of this wonderful country house with appropriate consideration for the heritage of the property and gardens.
”It took just eight weeks to install and clearly shows how we are committed to safeguarding our heritage and helping to protect the natural environment.”
Mike Hudson, Renewable Energy Director for the National Trust, said: “This is a great example of what support from the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme is enabling the Trust to do. Schemes like these cut carbon, promote local sustainable wood management and work in harmony with the natural and built environment. They work for the local environment and economy and support national energy and climate change ambitions.”

Response to MP’s vote on fracking

Yesterday MPs voted in Parliament to allow fracking in National Parks.

Here is the response of the National Trust to this vote:

“The decision by MP’s to allow fracking to happen under National Parks does nothing to allay our real concerns about the impact of fracking on some of the most precious landscapes in the UK. The Trust stands by its call for the Government to rule out fracking in the most sensitive areas – protected wildlife areas, nature reserves and national parks – and make them frack-free zones. There is a need to ensure that regulations offer sufficient protection to our treasured natural and historic environment.”

“There is an urgent need for more evidence about the impact of fracking on the hydrology, ecology and geology of landscapes. This is needed for informed decision-making about any future for fracking in the UK.”

The National Trust is a member of a wider coalition of ten organisations that published a report called ‘Are we fit to frack?

Forecast Changeable

A wind-shattered tree on the shores of Buttermere, Lake District, Cumbria.

A wind-shattered tree on the shores of Buttermere, Lake District, Cumbria. ©National Trust Images/David Noton.


Climate change poses the single biggest threat to National Trust places, bringing new, damaging impacts to a natural and cultural environment already under pressure, and a growing conservation challenge to our houses and gardens. Find out what we’re doing and how it’s affecting our places in our new report, Forecast Changeable: Forecast Changeable Report

National Trust responds to Amber Rudd’s speech on climate change

In her first major speech as Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Amber Rudd has today set out the government’s approach to combating climate change.

A National Trust spokesperson said: “Climate change is having major impacts on the natural and historic environment. We aim to play our part in reducing emissions from our own activities through our renewables programme. We want to see strong leadership from the government abroad. This must be backed up by an ambitious set of polices to reduce emissions and the impact of climate change at home.”