National Trust launches UK emissions cutting network

‘Organic’ network of charities, landowners and business will trade best practice ideas to combat climate change

(Pic: National Trust/Alan Watson)

(Pic: National Trust/Alan Watson)

By Nilima Choudhury 

Some of the UK’s largest charities and landowners are acting together to fight the impact of climate change and rising energy costs in a new carbon-cutting network.

The National Trust has teamed up with sustainable energy charity Ashden to bring together sustainability and energy experts to learn from each other and share best practice to reduce their carbon footprint.

The Landmark Trust charity, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Youth Hostel Association, Royal National Lifeboat Institution and Crown Estate, which managed properties worth £8.6 billion, have also signed up.

The Fit for the Future Network formally launched London this week, and saw companies pledging to combat the effects of climate change by cutting carbon emissions, developing renewable energy projects or holding workshops to educate the masses.

Speaking to RTCC, Patrick Begg, rural enterprise director at the National Trust said this would be an “organic” process where the Trust would act as middle man between organisations.

“People are making the same mistakes and not learning from each other. So what we want to do in the short term is bring people together,” he said.

“So this network is all about putting people in touch really proactively and soliciting people [by] saying ‘you’ve got some interesting projects, I know someone who has already done one and you need to meet’.”

Before the launch, the National Trust had already planned to invest nearly £3.5 million in five pilot projects, including hydro, biomass and heat pumps, during 2013/14.

If the pilot is successful, the Trust expects to spend ten times that sum in a programme that will see it generate 50% of its energy from renewable sources and halve its fossil fuel consumption by 2020.

“Our coastlines are crumbling and we are battling new pests, diseases, droughts and floods as a result of climate change. It’s a serious issue for us all,” said the National Trust’s Director General Dame Helen Ghosh.

“As a conservation charity, it’s also unacceptable that our energy costs could increase by millions of pounds over the next decade.”

Read more on: Climate finance