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National Trust's sustainable pub project goes down well with planners

National Trust's sustainable pub project goes down well with planners

Thirsty drinkers in the Lake District will soon be able to wet their whistles at a hydro-electric powered pub, after planners approved an ambitious National Trust-backed renewable energy project.

Work on the 100kW scheme at the Sticklebarn pub in Great Langdale can now begin, while the organisation was also left raising a glass to planning officials in Anglesey and Snowdonia, who have given the go-ahead respectively to a project to build one of the UK's first marine source heat pumps at Plas Newydd and install a 100kW hydro-electric scheme at Craflwyn near Beddgelert.

The National Trust said the decisions mark a "significant shift forwards" in its renewable energy investment programme, which was launched in conjunction with renewable electricity supplier Good Energy in April this year.

The charity has pledged to invest nearly £3.5m during 2013/14 in five pilot projects, including hydro, biomass, and heat pump installations. If the pilot scheme is successful, the Trust expects to spend 10 times that sum through a programme that will see it generate 50 per cent of its energy from renewable sources and halve its fossil fuel consumption by 2020.

Patrick Begg, National Trust rural enterprises director, said: "We've been working closely with our specialist conservation advisers to ensure these developments are at the right scale and location and work totally in tune with their historic and natural setting - and it seems the planning officers agree.

"We care deeply about the beautiful places we look after and want them to stay that way forever. The renewable schemes we are building will help wean us off oil and reduce our energy costs by more than £4m a year."

The Sticklebarn investment is part of a programme to turn the pub, the only one to be run by the National Trust, into the UK's most sustainable hostelry.

The pub already produces its own vodka and gin, serves food produced by neighbouring farms, and ploughs profits back into protecting the local landscape, while the Trust is also planning a number of energy efficiency measures for the site.

The 100kW hydro installation aims to provide 50 per cent of the property's energy needs and would also allow the installation of electric car charging points. Any excess electricity generated by the system will be exported to the grid.

Meanwhile, the 300kW marine source heat pump at Plas Newydd is expected to provide 100 per cent of the Grade 1 listed mansion's heat supply, replacing the oil-fuelled boilers that made the house the biggest user of fuel oil in the National Trust's entire property portfolio.

The 100kW hydro project at Craflwyn, part of the 7,000 acre Eifionydd estate that includes the southern side of Snowdon, joins a host of already-installed renewable energy measures, including solar thermal and PV systems and a 1.5kW high head stream engine.

The other two pilot projects the Trust has committed to are both biomass boilers: a 150kW system at Croft Castle to supply around three quarters of the property's heating needs and a 300kW boiler at Ickworth expected to meet the entire heating requirements of the Georgian Italianate palace.

The latest planning decisions come after National Grid last week commissioned its first commercial biogas project, connecting biomass operators Future Biogas to the gas network in Yorkshire.

The £8m facility near Doncaster will use 35,000 tonnes of break-crops, sourced from local farmers, each year, producing 12,000 cubic metres of gas per day into the grid - enough to heat from 2,500 homes in mid-winter to 40,000 homes in mid-summer.


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