Blenheim Palace plans to charge motorists higher entrance fees in a bid to encourage eco-friendly travel as part of the Duke of Marlborough’s pledge to make his estate carbon negative.
The palace plans to offer “deep discounts” on entrance tickets to visitors arriving by public transport and will offer to offset emissions from those who don’t as part of an effort to “arm every part of the domain against climate change.
Dominic Hare, the managing director of Blenheim, told the Telegraph that the estate wanted to go beyond an âarbitraryâ net zero goal and see how much carbon could be sequestered in its lands.
âWe are very fortunate as a land estate which, unlike many companies, although it will take some effort to make us properly carbon neutralâ¦ we could go much further. There are many communities around us that cannot make the same contribution, so we are determined to use every last square acre for a positive use of carbon sequestration, âsaid Mr. Hare.
Blenheim plans to be carbon neutral by 2027, with a goal beyond that to sequester 30,000 tonnes of carbon per year. However, Mr Hare said they did not know what the upper limit might be and that he wanted to “see how much carbon we can sequester”.
The UK’s per capita carbon emissions are around 5.4 tonnes per year.
Mr Hare said the motivation behind the plan came from the Duke and his family, explaining: “The Duke has always been passionate about the campaign and its carbon benefits, and his son George is even more so. . “
If the estate didn’t do anything, Mr Hare said, the ‘next duke after the next duke’ would look at an estate of ‘parched soil’ and ask ‘what grandpa, daddy was doing leaving me that ?
The estate goes further than many heritage organizations, by including so-called ‘scope three’ indirect emissions in its target, which includes items such as carbon dioxide produced by visitors to the Oxfordshire estate.
Emissions from visitor transportation account for nearly three-quarters of the domain’s overall carbon emissions, according to Blenheim’s own figures.
Mr Hare said it was “wrong” to exclude such emissions from their net zero targets, given that “we have a business model designed to attract people to come a long way to come and visit Blenheim and spend money. money “.
He said they were looking to offer “big price reductions for those willing to come, with an extra effort, by bus, by bike, by train, whatever.” broadcasts on the domain itself.
âIf they can’t reduce their emissions, we can help them do it,â he said.
While the journey from Oxford city center to the Palace can be made easily using public transport, with one of the three bus lines to Woodstock operating every 30 minutes, it can be more difficult when you are traveling from London.
Visitors from the capital will need to travel around two hours and will need to take a train to Oxford or Hanborough, then connect to Blenheim using various bus services, followed by a walk to the main entrance. Train travel from other cities will require a connection at Reading, Didcot Parkway or Birmingham New Street.
Mr Hare said the estate started testing the idea in early 2020, but had to abandon it after just three weeks when the pandemic took people away from public transport.