Planners have given approval to allow the UK’s most sustainable pub to generate energy from its own hydro-power plant.
The National Trust’s Sticklebarn pub, near Ambleside in the Lake District, will install a 100kW generator that will be powered by the flow of nearly 200 litres of water a second from a nearby stream.
Once installed, the pub’s hydro-power unit will have the capacity to produce 350,000kW of renewable electricity a year – enough to power the equivalent of more than 80 homes.
The pub, which produces its own vodka and gin, already serves food grown and reared by neighbouring tenant farmers, with all profits going back into protecting the local landscape.
The £650,000 scheme is one of three key National Trust projects that are included in a pilot phase of its proposed major renewables investment programme.
As well as work beginning at Sticklebarn, a project to build one of the UK’s first marine source heat pumps has also been given the go ahead at Plas Newydd, Anglesey, along with a hydro-electric scheme at Craflwyn near Beddgelert, Snowdonia.
The move marks a significant shift forwards in the Trust’s renewable energy investment programme, which was launched by the charity in conjunction with the renewable electricity supplier, Good Energy, in April this year.
The Trust has pledged to invest nearly £3.5 million in five pilot projects, including hydro, biomass and heat pumps, during 2013/14. If the pilot is deemed successful, the Trust expects to spend ten times that sum in 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.”
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