The National Trust is to invest £30m in solar panels, woodchip boilers and innovative technology that can extract heat from a lake, in a bid to supply half of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020.
This substantial amount of funding comes straight from Europe’s largest conservation organisation, skyrocketing the initial funding for renewable energy from £3.5m.
Although the trust has opposed individual windfarms on visual grounds in the past it says it believes strongly in renewable energy and laid out a plan in 2010 to cut its fossil fuel use in half to
tackle global warming.
“In setting out our 10 year plan we recognised we will 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, the trust’s rural enterprises director.
The charity is the UK’s largest private landowner, with 250,000 hectares of land and has been previously criticised for successfully blocking onshore windfarm developments, the UK’s cheapest source of renewable energy. Two years ago they fought – and won – a high court battle against the development of a wind farm in Northamptonshire, which was within sight of one of its properties.