Working towards our 10 year goal, first we will use the lessons of natural capital to become carbon-neutral and then develop this further to demonstrate carbon-negative land management.
There is no commonly agreed ‘one best’ sustainable practice amongst farming methods such as regenerative, agroforestry, and organic. We will work with partners who can guide us on this journey, and together we will find the best mix, or model, that proves effective for our sustainable land use ambitions.
Climate change and the dangers it brings are self-evident. The real question now is how much we can do to lessen its impact. We recognise that Blenheim has both a significant responsibility to help and an opportunity to make a real difference.
We will work as hard as we can to reduce our carbon emissions, but we also need to invest in projects that will help us offset the carbon we cannot eliminate. Being a landed estate, we have several initiatives that will enable us to begin offsetting carbon:
In April 2022 we will begin the first dredge of the Queen Pool in over 100 years. The dredge will return the lake to its ideal depth of two metres from its current shallows of 30cm, by removing over 300,000 cubic metres of silt.
This is the final stage in a wider project which has seen successful repairs to both the Vanburgh Bridge and the Cascades. Due to the successful work on the Cascades, we can now undertake a wet dredge, which is far less disruptive.
Stage Zero is a partnership between the Environment Agency, the Evenlode Catchment Partnership, Thames Water, and Blenheim, to recreate the impact that beavers would have on a flood plain. The project will allow the water to spill out of the River Dorn at high flow, naturally, to the surrounding water meadows. By Spring 2022 we will have a naturally working floodplain initiative.
Our 6.5 Hectare site just north east of Woodstock, will generate 93.8 gigawatt hours over 15 years, which means nearly 15,000 tonnes of CO2 will be avoided. It will provide enough power for 721 homes (based on average annual household demand).
In partnership with Morgan Sindall Group plc we are creating nine new woodlands as part of a ground breaking legacy project. We will be planting more than 250,000 trees which will sequester a total of 22,000 tonnes of carbon across a quarter of a century.