Working Towards a Carbon Neutral Future
To manage land in the long term we need to have regard to the health of the environment. It is obvious that if we extract the fertility of the soil then its productivity will inevitably decline. This makes us acutely aware of the bigger picture - that if we abuse our management of our planet then its ability to support life will diminish to the detriment of all.
We are in a fortunate position where, with over 50% of our land under trees and with a considerable proportion of the remaining land in pasture, much of our land is fixing carbon.
Our ultimate aim is for Kincardine Estate to be a net fixer of carbon and a net producer of energy so that we can, for example, offset the carbon production of tourists who come to stay at the castle.
We are in the throes of trying to establish our current net carbon footprint and, so far, we've discovered this isn't a straightforward calculation!
We have eliminated the biggest single use of fossil fuels by heating the castle since 2012 with biomass grown on the estate. We have investigated wind and hydro power opportunities and are now looking into solar power generation.
Clearly the biggest gains can be achieved by lowering consumption and this is part of our strategy. We are working hard to make our houses much more energy efficient but with solid-wall traditional and often listed stone buildings this is a massive and extremely expensive challenge with many properties requiring to be rebuilt internally from below the floor upwards.