Our overarching aim is to make Ditchley and the Ditchley Park estate a model and hub for a responsible, achievable and inspiring example of change to limit damage to the environment, with the objective of being carbon neutral by 2025.
Ditchley has already implemented several important steps to becoming carbon neutral and environmentally friendly which include the following:
- Ditchley’s heating and hot water and that of the majority of houses on the estate comes from a 1 megawatt biomass plant that is fuelled by sustainable timber
- Waste water and sewage is handled by a plant on the estate
- Ditchley provides a unique habitat in its grasslands and forests that compares in its flora and fauna to the fragments of ancient forest left in the UK, with many species present that are not found elsewhere. Otters, for example, recently returned to Ditchley’s lake.
- There are 78 kw solar panels on two of the grain store roofs with two more to be fitted when finances allow
- The Ditchley estate farm, managed by the HDH Wills Trust, raises organic livestock and adheres to traditional farming practices with high standards of animal welfare in addition to the following:
- The arable land is farmed to encourage worm population, this means doing as little cultivation as possible
- The farm tries to keep a crop growing in the soil at all times, this helps to bring a different crop into the rotation and also brings animals onto the arable land the helps with biodiversity above and below ground
- At the Fulwell end of the estate there are three fields in the ASSIST trial. This is a 5 year project seeing if flower margins around and through the field can encourage beneficial insects to colonise the whole field instead of just the headlands. They would then control aphids and slugs meaning less need for chemicals
- At least 10 per cent of the estate is growing bird feed and bumble bee feeding plots. The bird feed plots are also hand fed with seed by the gamekeeper to fill the gap between end of the seed on the plots and new wild food being available.
Recent Ditchley discussions that have addressed climate change and the environment include:
- Food security in the 21st century: global prospects for resilient and sustainable food production systems. Chaired by Michael McCain, CEO Maple Leaf Foods
- Transforming Ocean Data. Chaired by Linwood Pendleton on behalf of the Ocean Data Foundation, REV Ocean
- The Ocean: an opportunity for a new level of international cooperation or a tragedy of the commons? Chaired by the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, former Canadian foreign minister
- The Arctic at the crossroads: cooperation or competition? Chaired by the Honourable Jean Charest, former Prime Minister of Quebec and MP Duane Smith, former member of the Arctic Council and Inuit leader
- Nuclear energy: the future or the past? Chaired by Lady Judge