From reducing energy use and saving water to planning for a green future, work by National Trust teams to help create a greener region has been celebrated at an awards ceremony last night.
Photos courtesy of Paul Tibbs
With winners coming from Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex, the East of England Environmental Awards saw muddy boots, kitchen uniforms and blustery coastlines swapped for suits and evening wear for the ceremony at Anglesey Abbey, near Cambridge.
National Trust teams from around the East were competing for prizes in ten categories, including Green Kitchen, Wise Use of Water, Holiday Cottage Hero, Best Energy Reduction and Green Team of the Year.
As the largest conservation charity in Europe, the National Trust is committed to reducing its energy consumption by 20% by 2020. Of the remaining 80%, half will be from renewable energy sources.
Speaking after the ceremony, the Trust’s Environmental Practices Adviser for the East of England, Miranda Campbell, said:
“We work hard to ensure our supporters see our places looking their best, but there’s also a huge amount of innovative work that happens behind the scenes to keep these historic places ready for the challenges of the future. Our teams are really encouraged to take steps to reduce impacts on the environment and these awards are a way to say thank you for work that is often unseen. We are determined here in the East to meet some ambitious environmental targets and it is great to be able to recognise all the contributions made towards those.”
The awards were sponsored by Adnams and Anglian Water and each winner received a unique wooden plaque made from magnolia sourced from Sheringham Park in Norfolk. The plaques were all created by Norfolk woodturner Keverne Dewick and engraved by the Bury St Edmunds charity, Workwise. Winners also received a framed certificate, and a bottle of bubbly from Adnams.
The categories and winners were as follows:
Green Team of the Year – for the team making the greatest overall impact
Winner: Green Living team, Felbrigg Hall Norfolk and Regional Consultancy
Felbrigg Hall annually hosts “Green Build”, organised by North Norfolk District Council, but this year, the 6,000 visitors had the opportunity to visit the National Trust’s own Green Living stand. This was planned and run as a joint effort by members of the property and consultancy team. The focus of the stand was green living past and present, with a special trail developed around the property linking these aspects together and included the ice house, the donkey wheel, the dovecote, composting, the walled garden, rainwater harvesting, woodland and energy reduction measures.
Best Energy Reduction – for those making the greatest improvements in reduction of energy use in oil, electricity and gas
Winner: Ickworth, Suffolk
Ickworth has made a clear commitment to installing energy reducing technologies including a phased LED replacement and significant draught proofing projects. Last year Ickworth achieved almost 26% reduction from baseline levels. Site management at the property has had a strong focus on efficiency and this has driven significant reductions. In addition the decision to take the catering function back in hand has put them back in control over their kitchens energy consumption and allowed the kitchen team to really get to grips with energy management.
Wise Use of Water Award – for the best at recycling, reusing and saving water
Winner: Nigel Houghton, Regional Building Surveyor, for a project based at Ickworth
Ickworth was, by some margin, the highest water consuming NT property in our region, but has now been relegated to second place! Over the last few years we’ve invested in a large project improving the infrastructure at Ickworth, with Nigel as Project Manager. He started with the more obvious repair work but, within the last year, introduced smart meters on each of the branches of our water supply network, so that consumption can be monitored on frequent basis (every 15 mins 24/7 if required). This allows us to react quickly to usage/leak issues as they develop, rather than months later when large water bills arrive. As a direct result, water consumption at Ickworth reduced in 2014/15 by 4,361m3 (‘or’ 4,360,580 litres) – which is over 40% reduction from that of 2013/14. To put that in to perspective, that’s enough to fill 1 & 3/4 of an Olympic-sized swimming pool; or just over 2.5 MILLION kettles full! This not only this is not only a significant saving in the supply of water, but has also reduced sewage cost, as around 30% of our wastewater flows to a main sewer.
Waste-not Winner – for the leaders in recycling and waste reduction
Winner: Peckover House garden team, Cambridgeshire
The Peckover garden team are avid recyclers both in the garden and the office.
They save paper and envelopes to re-use in the printer or as note paper; compost fruit, tea bags and coffee grains from break times; compost 99% of garden waste, shredding all woody material, used as a mulch and soil conditioner on the borders; collect autumn leaves to make leaf mould, a useful soil improver; re-use plastic compost, sand and gravel bags to store things or as rubbish bags; collect old plastic shopping bags to use on the plant sales trolley. All plants for sale come from the garden and are not bought in. They save plant pots and trays to reuse again in the garden and for our plant sales area; even re-use string if possible. They attempt to sell or give away unneeded items which are still useful and are working with the kitchen to gauge if it is feasible to start composting food waste. Even uneaten cat food is not wasted, but recycled by their very bold blackbirds!
The Acorn Award – Countering environmental impact in outdoor spaces
Winner: Keith Miller, Coastal Warden, North Norfolk Coast
Keith is tireless in his care for the Trust’s coastline in North Norfolk. This includes his regular litter picks on Brancaster Beach, which he undertakes regularly throughout the season; coping with large quantities of (often unmentionably unpleasant) waste; the occasional excitement of unexploded ordnance scares; seal pups which need rescuing; and even being bitten on the nose by a gannet needing taking to the wildlife hospital! As part of Brancaster Activity Centre’s work he regularly engages with school groups doing their conservation task and is a fantastic role model for the children, enthusing about his work, and not shrinking from the harder messages of the impact of marine litter and the consequences it has for both the wildlife and his work.
Green Kitchen of the Year – for best energy reduction and waste management in our kitchens
Winner: Ickworth, Suffolk
Since taking the catering function back in hand, they have reduced energy consumption of this function by at least 20% and water by at least 12%. From the beginning energy and environmental impact has been a priority for this team including observing previous processes and identifying high energy consuming behaviours so that they could tailor and fine tune their procedures. Working with our Energy Reduction Adviser, Jack Caldwell, the team examined a number of possible improvements and consistently showed willingness and enthusiasm to constantly improve and make things better.
Holiday Cottage Hero – for making the greatest difference in energy reduction with our holiday cottages
Winner: Alison Colton, East of England Regional Office, Suffolk
Alison coordinates all of the region’s meter reads, including the 80-odd energy and water meters at holiday cottages. She has spent many hours resolving read issues as well as analysing holiday cottage energy use against size of holiday cottage and guest occupancy. This enables us to prioritise introducing energy saving measures. Alison also directly changed the lightbulbs at a holiday cottage at Ickworth over to LED.
Fit for the Future Award – for sustainability, helping to reduce pollution and enhance the environment
Winners: Wimpole Home Farm, Wimpole, Cambridgeshire
Over the last two years the farm team at Wimpole have been thinking, researching, learning, experimenting, testing and challenging respected industry thinkers to find a new way to work the organic arable system at Home Farm primarily to reduce energy use. One new way of working is to reduce the amount of time a tractor spends working in the field and to use shallow ploughing. The benefits are savings in an estimated 30-40% fuel , reduced carbon emissions and reducing risk of soil compaction. It will lead to better soil health, and therefore habitat to improve biodiversity, increase yields of healthy nutritious food.
Meter Manager of the Year – celebrating the unsung heroes who go out in all weather conditions and into some really tricky locations to read our meters
Winner: Peter Justice, volunteer Energy Manager, North Norfolk Coast
Whilst the solution to fix the leak has not been quick or simple, finding it early has saved money literally being washed away. Peter’s role on the Norfolk Coast is unique. The property portfolio covers numerous and varied meter locations, an intrepid adventurous journey, including navigating across the river to Heigham Holmes and a boat trip across the estuary – at all times of the year – to the remote shingle spit at Blakeney Point. This is a trip of 70 miles end to end or nearly 2 hours of non-stop driving. And this is all done voluntarily, outside of Peter’s day job with BT. He has even been known to take annual leave to complete meter reads – dedication for sure. Peter’s commitment doesn’t stop at taking meter reads. He actually looks at the data and queries anything that doesn’t look quite right. This has led to him identifying the need for more efficient heaters, and spotting a major water leak on the supply across to Blakeney Point.
Neptune Award – for celebrating the Trust’s role caring for our coastline
National Trust Coastal Engagement Group (Alex Green, North Norfolk Coast; Alison Joseph, Dunwich; Sarah Barfoot, Essex; Helen Johns, Jemma Finch and Elysa Dale, Westley Bottom Regional Office).
At the end of 2014 a group was set up in order to help shape and plan what the Trust’s Coast 2015 celebrations would look like in the East of England, celebrating 50 years of Neptune, the Trust’s national appeal to raise money and buy stretches of coastline so it could be protected for everyone to enjoy for ever.The campaign sought to: raise awareness of the National Trust caring for 775 miles of coastline in the UK; raise awareness of the climate change and our changing coastlines; increase the public’s connection to the coast and need to care for it; develop, plan and implement coast events such as BioBlitzes, Big Beach Picnics and regular Beach Cleans. The team’s work helped highlight the importance of the coast and the Trust’s role in looking after it.