£30 million investment in a sustainable future

Published : 08 Aug 2016 Last update : 12 Jul 2019

We’re making our biggest ever investment in renewable energy to heat and power more of the historic places we look after. The £30 million investment follows the successful completion of five renewable energy projects at properties in our care - part of a £3.5 million pilot we launched in 2013.

The projects included a biomass boiler at Ickworth in Suffolk, which was officially switched on today by Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. The new boiler has replaced a 5,000 litre oil tank in the grounds, removing the risk of contamination from oil leaks.

Using wood fuel sourced directly from the estate has created an even bigger conservation dividend. As well as the mansion becoming self-sufficient in heat, the new woodland being planted to secure future fuel is also reinstating lost design features from the Grade II listed park and gardens. The more actively managed woodlands will also create better, bigger habitats and improve nature conservation.

Our renewable energy ambitions

The commitment to invest £30 million in renewable energy marks a milestone in reaching our targets to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, cut energy usage by 20 per cent and source 50 per cent of our energy from renewable sources on land we look after by 2020.

Our renewable energy programme could also help save up to £4 million on our energy costs each year. Electricity generated from some of the projects will be sold to the grid providing us with a source of income. Coupled with the savings made, this will allow us to spend more money on our vital conservation work.

We’re investing in more than 40 further projects which include:

  • A 200kW lake source heating project on the Blickling Estate in Norfolk, which will remove two oil tanks and 25,572 litres a year of oil consumption with an estimated saving of 68 tonnes of CO2 per year
  • Two biomass boilers at Upton House in Warwickshire to heat the mansion and other areas, saving an estimated 55 tonnes of CO2 per year
  • A 250kW hydro scheme at Hayeswater in Cumbria where there is a legacy of hydropower from historic corn mills and water wheels – this project will provide an income stream to support conservation work on land we care for

Playing our part

‘In setting out our 10 year plan we recognised we’ll have to play our part in helping to mitigate climate change. A key part of that is to reduce our reliance on oil and look for greener energy solutions,’ said Patrick Begg our rural enterprises director.

‘We have a responsibility to look after the special places in our care, requiring us to make long-term decisions that will protect them for future generations.

‘Many of the properties in our care are energy intensive and in remote areas without access to mains gas. Installing renewable technology in these places is a huge challenge, but we’ve learnt a great deal and will continue to do so.

‘The success we’ve seen in decommissioning oil tanks, lowering our energy costs and reducing carbon emissions has shown us that renewables play a vital part in us reaching our 2020 energy targets and in delivering more for our core conservation mission.’

Working together for a greener future

Collaboration has been a key part of our renewable energy work. We’re using the lessons learnt through the pilot phase of our renewables programme to inform future projects as well as sharing experience, through our Fit for the Future network, with others who are looking for a greener energy supply.

This article was first published on 6 July 2015.


Croft Castle: How to get warmth from the woods

Watch the video and find out how we use wood from our parkland at Croft Castle to fuel our biomass boiler, and provide power for the whole estate.