Kilnsey Park Estate’s new woodchip heating system among first in Dales
AS oil and gas gets ever more expensive – and the time when it runs
out draws ever closer – how the country moves towards more sustainable
energy is at the forefront of scientific and political thinking.
And in the Dales, a small but significant ecological step towards
heating the area’s homes by renewable resources has been taken by the
Kilnsey Park Estate.
Two 60 kilowatt biomass boilers which use woodchip pellets as fuel are
providing instant hot water and heat to the estate’s pony trekking and
riding centre – and to three homes and one business in the village of
Conistone, just across the valley from KIlnsey.
And the decision to go down this path was not a difficult one to make, says Kilnsey estate owner Jamie Roberts.
He explains: “There are very strong environmental reasons for
switching to biomass boilers for us and there are strong commercial
“Using wood pellets instead of oil will save 40 tonnes of carbon
emissions and the pellets are significantly cheaper than heating oil.
“We are getting three of four deliveries a year of pellets grown in
Scotland and we reckon our costs are working out around 40 per cent
cheaper than they would be with oil or gas.
“And we have future plans to expand the system so that it can provide
cheaper heating to Conistone Church and some other properties in the
District heating systems have been around for many years in Europe,
and more recently in Britain. But they have tended to be in the more
densely-populated cities and towns – for example, in apartment blocks.
It is believed the Kilnsey estate system is among the very first to be developed in the Dales.
The scheme for Conistone cost the estate almost £100,000 to set up,
but it attracts a subsidy from the Government for the next 20 years
which will substantially offset that.
The Government has set a target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by
80 per cent by 2050, so it seems likely that other businesses will be
encouraged to take the same path as the Kilnsey estate.
In the trekking centre, some of the pellets are also used to provide
bedding for the ponies, making pellets even more ‘productive’ before
they are converted into heat.
Jamie says: “We pride ourselves on our green credentials and we have a
long track record of investing in renewable technologies. Our first
water-powered turbine was installed in 1933, for example.
“And today the park is completely self-sufficient for electricity
thanks to two hydro-turbines, while all the buildings are heated using
water from the stream.”