In addition to the Haddo Forest Plan, the Estate sees itself as a leader in sustainable development in the North East through its implementation of the following environmentally friendly projects:
The Cottonhillock Biomass Scheme is the Estate’s most exciting and extensive biomass project to date. It has been incorporated into the Cottonhillock housing development on the southern outskirts of Methlick. Hot water and heating for the 22 affordable homes that make up part of the site will be provided by a brand new woodchip boiler via a district heating main. The aim is for the same unit to service the local primary school next door to the development, providing its facilities with a sustainable and low-cost source of renewable energy. The Scheme aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (it is estimated that it will save 90 tonnes of CO2 savings per year), improve energy supply security and promote the adoption of similar initiatives in future residential and commercial developments in the region.
Broag Remeha biomass boilers have also been installed at the renovated properties of Raxton Farm, Little Methlick Farmhouse and the Old Laundry. These boilers are fueled by wood chip. Through achieving efficiency levels in excess of 90% throughout their operating range, they enable the properties to generate cheap and carbon neutral energy for their heating and hot water.
Across these sites, optimum efficiency is ensured through complete fuel combustion, which itself is guaranteed by sensors regulating the air supply and exhaust gas into and out of the furnace. The fuel stores are replenished and maintained by the Estate Forester using wood chip produced from timber harvested from Estate woodland. By providing wood for chipping the Estate is also improving forest management by upgrading the quality and value of harvested timber, future productivity and asset value, not to mention biodiversity.
An Archimedes’ screw is now in operation at the site of the sawmill at Kelly. The original water wheel that drove the sawmill was removed in 1936 and replaced by a 2.5kW electrical generator. This has in turn been replaced in 2010 by a 10kW generator, which is powered by water driven down a channel from Kelly Lake through a large auger. The hydroelectricity generated is then fed directly into the National Grid.
The Lady Anna Falls, a salmon ladder that can be found alongside the Archimedes’ screw, allows the safe passage of fish from the River Ythan up into Kelly Lake.
The Estate Farm has implemented several government-sponsored agri-environmental schemes since 1997.
These include the planting of 6m grass margins in arable fields bordered by burns or ditches. Besides creating wildlife corridors, these are aimed at preventing pesticides from getting into the Estate’s water courses, reducing runoff in periods of heavy rain and reducing water pollution from fertilisers. In addition, 1300m of hedging has been planted on the Estate to provide habitats for wildlife and guard against soil erosion in the future. In some fields, the grass is mowed late in order to encourage ground-nesting birds. Selected areas are also dedicated to the cultivation of species-rich grasslands and wild bird cover.
Following the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy in 2015 the Estate Farm entered into a 5 year agri-environment contract, agreeing to maintain water margins, grass margins, species rich grass, wild bird cover, woodland creation and maintenance of existing hedgerows.