9 January 2020
National Trust’s Director-General, Hilary McGrady, today announced the organisation’s ambition to be carbon net zero by 2030. During an address this morning, Hilary said:“As Europe’s biggest conservation charity, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to fight climate change, which poses the biggest threat to the places, nature and collections we care for."
Fit for the Future members view a National Trust hydro power scheme at Stickle Ghyll in the Lake District during a site visit
The National Trust plans to become carbon net zero by maximising their land’s capacity to capture and store carbon, and by achieving significant cuts to emissions across the organisation.
As guardians of over 250,000 hectares of land across England, Wales and Northern Ireland the Trust aims to achieve its net zero plans by honing in on carbon storage across its estate. This will involve woodland expansion and tree planting, habitat creation, and peat restoration.
The series of initiatives announced includes planting 20 million new trees in ten years. More than 18,000 hectares of woodland will be established to lock up 300,000 tonnes of carbon – equivalent to the energy output of 37,000 homes a year. This will mean that 17 per cent of land the charity cares for will be covered in woodland.
As the nation’s largest farm owner the Trust’s existing commitment to farming with both food production and nature in mind will also play a role. You can see some of this work first hand at Fit for the Future’s visit to Wimpole Home Farm on 23rd April.
Alongside carbon storage, actions to cut emissions are also central to the net zero plan. The Trust will be continuing their long-standing work around reducing energy use and generating their own renewable energy. The existing Renewable Energy Investment programme has already seen many National Trust properties like this Welsh castle switching from fossil fuel to renewables, and schemes such as this hydro electric installation in the foothills of Snowdonia generating green energy as well as additional income for the charity.
The Trust will continue to build resilience to climate change impacts to ensure that the properties and land in their care, and the organisation as a whole, are set up to cope with the climatic changes and impacts such as coastal erosion, flooding and extreme temperatures projected over the coming years. During our 2019 members conference the National Trust’s Climate Change Adaptation specialist, Keith Jones, spoke about the impacts of the year’s summer heat wave on Ham House near Richmond as temperatures reached more than 40C.
Keith Jones presents at our 2019 Network Harvest
This is a plan that recognises the bigger picture and the far-reaching implications of climate change on places and people beyond the Trust’s boundaries.
During her speech, Hilary said: "we can only do so much alone. Now, more than ever, the whole environmental movement needs to pull together."
There has never been a more urgent time for collaboration, and we know that Fit for the Future has an important part to play in enabling the sharing of knowledge, practical solutions and best practice across organisations and sectors over 2020 and beyond. Read more about Fit for the Future’s plans for the year here.