National Trust launches carbon cutting network

It’s not just grand old buildings and estates the National Trust is keeping an eye on: it seems the organisation has the whole world’s health in its sights. The Trust […]

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By Vicky Ellis

It’s not just grand old buildings and estates the National Trust is keeping an eye on: it seems the organisation has the whole world’s health in its sights.

The Trust – which looks after places such as Lyme Park in the Peak District (pictured) – yesterday launched a new carbon cutting network of bodies including fellow defender of the country house English Heritage, backed by sustainable energy charity Ashden and green power firm Good Energy.

Also joining the Fit for the Future Network are a number of landowning groups, sustainability experts and charities including the Landmark Trust, the Crown Estate, bird protection group RSPB, the Youth Hostel Association and lifeboat charity RNLI.

The groups will learn from each other and share ideas about how to reduce their carbon footprint.

The National Trust’s new Director General, Dame Helen Ghosh – who recently got into hot water when she didn’t dismiss the idea of fracking on the group’s land, something she has now ruled out – said climate change is a “serious issue for us all”.

She said: “As a conservation charity, it’s also unacceptable that our energy costs could increase by millions of pounds over the next decade. To tackle these issues, we’ve set ourselves ambitious targets to use 20% less energy, halve our fossil fuel use and generate 50% of our energy from renewable sources by 2020. But, like others, we need support to achieve these targets.”

Members have been invited to make pledges to work together to reduce their carbon footprint.

Howard Richings, Head of Estates Management at RNLI, has pledged to “share practical solutions” from renewable energy projects, such as solar PV and water source heat pumps that are expected to save the charity £100,000 in the next year.

Mr Richings said: “The RNLI sees great value in belonging to the network and learning from the lessons of others – the more people who join the better.”

The National Trust looks after more than 250,000 hectares of countryside, 742 miles of coastline and hundreds of special places across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.