The National Trust has announced it has made its biggest ever investment in renewable energy to heat and power more of the historic places it looks after.
The £30m investment follows the successful completion of five renewable energy projects at properties in the National Trust’s care - part of a £3.5m pilot it launched with Good Energy in 2013.
The projects included a biomass boiler at Ickworth in Suffolk, which was officially switched on this week by energy secretary Amber Rudd.
The new boiler has replaced a 5,000l 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.
The commitment to invest £30m in renewable energy marks a milestone in reaching the National Trust’s targets to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels, cut energy use by 20% and source 50% of its energy from renewable sources on land it looks after by 2020.
The renewable energy programme could also help save up to £4m on the National Trust’s energy costs each year.
Good Energy chief executive Juliet Davenport said: “It’s been fantastic to see how renewable projects like the biomass boiler at Ickworth are transforming the energy use of some our oldest and most special buildings. The National Trust is truly inspirational with this approach.
“Together, we’ve worked hard to inspire consumers to switch to cleaner, greener forms of electricity and help to build a more sustainable energy future for the UK.”