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.

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.”

National Trust invest £30m in sustainable future

Plas Newydd Country House and Gardens, Anglesey, Wales. This fine 18th century mansion sits on the shores of the Menai Strait.

Plas Newydd Country House and Gardens, Anglesey, Wales. Home to a marine source heat pump which was installed in 2014. Credit National Trust images, John Millar

The National Trust today (Monday 6 July 2015) announced its biggest ever investment, of £30million, in renewable energy to heat and power more of its historic places. The announcement follows the successful completion of five renewable energy projects at National Trust properties – part of a £3.5million pilot launched with Good Energy in 2013.

The investment, by Europe’s biggest conservation charity, marks a milestone towards reaching its targets to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, cut energy usage by 20% and source 50% from renewable sources on its land by 2020.

The Trust’s renewable energy programme could also help save up to £4m on its energy costs each year. Electricity generated from some of the projects will be sold to the grid providing the charity with a source of income. This income, coupled with the savings made, will allow more money to be spent on vital conservation work.

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Hardwick Hall protected for all

The National Trust today welcomed the Secretary of State’s decision to dismiss an appeal against a planning decision not to allow the building of six wind turbines in the setting of Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire by Roseland Community Windfarm.

Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire (National Trust/Andrew Butler)

Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire (National Trust/Andrew Butler)

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New royal recruit marks one year anniversary for ground-breaking carbon cutting network

A royal recruit has marked the successful one-year anniversary for an innovative carbon cutting network that brings together some of Britain’s biggest landowners.

The Fit for the Future Network, which was launched by the National Trust and the sustainable energy charity Ashden in November 2013, now has an international membership of 85 land-owning, charitable and sustainability organisations.

Snowdon hydro at National Trust Hafod y Llan farm (credit National Trust_John Millar)

The network provides a model of change – where leading organisations can share and learn practical tools and techniques to help achieve their own cleaner energy targets and together contribute to the UK’s climate change targets (80 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050).

The latest organisation to sign up to the not-for-profit network is the Royal Household, which operates at Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace, Kensington Palace, Windsor Castle, The Palace of Holyroodhouse and the Queen’s Galleries.

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New hydro trial marks successful milestone for ambitious National Trust renewables programme

A new way to overcome the challenges of building renewables on significant and extreme weather-prone places has been successfully trialled by the National Trust.

National Trust Hafod y Porth hydro project

The conservation charity has switched on a hydro turbine at Hafod y Porth in Snowdonia. The scheme is uniquely the Trust’s first hydro turbine to be pre-fabricated off site before being transferred and assembled on location.

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A fresh spin on green living this September

From giant hamster wheels and behind-the-scenes tours to green gardening advice and the chance to win a year’s free electricity – there will be fun for all ages at lots of National Trust places this September.

Give green living a whirl at National Trust places in September ©Good Energy

Give green living a whirl at National Trust places in September ©Good Energy

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