SOLAR panels have been installed at the iconic Durlston Castle as part of Dorset Council’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions across its estate.

The panels have been placed in such a way so as to minimise their visual impact and are part of the council’s ongoing Climate and Ecological Emergency Strategy.

Green energy generated by the panels will help to power the visitor centre, cafe, shop and gallery at Durlston. It is expected to save around six tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year.

The addition of solar panels at the castle is just one of many green initiatives being taken to reduce the historic building’s carbon footprint. A new low-carbon heat pump system is set to be installed later this month, and the castle’s old lighting has already been replaced with highly efficient LEDs.

Katie Black, Senior Ranger at Durlston Country Park, said: “The Durlston National Nature Reserve is one of the country’s most important places for wildlife and plays a key role in Dorset Council’s response to the ecological crisis we are facing.

“These new solar panels will help us contribute to the council’s response to the Climate and Ecological Emergency and make sure Durlston’s positive impact on the environment is greater than ever.”

Councillor Ray Bryan, Dorset Council’s Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, said: “The installation of solar panels at such an exemplar site is an excellent demonstration of Dorset Council’s efforts to deliver on its Climate and Ecological Emergency Strategy and shows how low carbon technologies can be integrated into our listed buildings whilst still preserving their historic integrity.

“I am incredibly proud of the officers and contractors who are working tirelessly to get this programme of work delivered. This project at Durlston Castle has been a great achievement, especially considering the pandemic-related supply issues that have been encountered along the way.

The project forms part of a wider £19million programme of work being carried out by Dorset Council to reduce the carbon footprint of its buildings. Since securing funds from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme last March, the council has installed low-carbon measures at over 100 sites on its estate.