Thursday, 12 September 2013

Outstanding accolade for Blenheim Palace as they win ‘Gold’ within the Green Tourism and Business Scheme

Blenheim Palace has been awarded Gold within the 2013 Green Tourism and Business Scheme. This scheme is the world’s leading tourism accreditation programme honouring Britain’s most environmentally friendly businesses, and highlights the importance of protecting environments, respecting local cultures, supporting communities, conserving natural resources and minimising pollution.
Blenheim Palace has always been passionate about delivering a greener, more sustainable business, and this award reflects this commitment. Working closely with Green Tourism, the team at Blenheim Palace have moved through the ranks from Silver in 2012, and was graded against a rigorous set of criteria, including energy and water efficiency, waste management and biodiversity, to now achieve the highest accolade of the top gold award in 2013. 
Current initiatives include:
  • An impressive 81% of waste on the Blenheim Palace Estate recycled, including many tonnes of both glass and card. This prevents valuable materials being buried, and reduces Blenheim Palace’s pressure on landfill sites, which are due to reach capacity in the South East in six years
  • Partnership with Thames Water to reduce water consumption, by identifying leaks in historic pipe work around the Estate. Automatic water monitoring equipment has been installed in key locations and water saving devices will be fitted at the Palace and estate cottages
  • Commitment to supporting the best of local suppliers, through offering locally produced food, drink and gift items through our shops and restaurants
  • Low energy light bulbs introduced across the Estate, and rainwater is used to water plants
The news comes as Blenheim Palace recently announced it is to develop a £180,000 micro hydro scheme. This involves the instillation of a 10 metre long 14.9 kWp ‘Archimedes Screw’ on the river Glyme this Autumn, and is expected to generate a further 60,000 kWh of clean power each year, providing enough electricity to power 18 homes.
His Grace, 11th Duke of Marlborough said; ‘We are delighted to have been awarded ‘Gold’ within the Green Tourism & Business Scheme. This accolade reflects the seriousness with which we hold the reduction of our carbon footprint and best environmental practices within Blenheim Palace. We are proud of our ongoing association with Green Tourism, and our plans to drive forward new and impressive initiatives, so future generations can continue to enjoy the beauty of Blenheim Palace in years to come.”

Heather Carter, Head of Operations, commented “It is incredibly exciting to be awarded Gold by the GTBS, and a great achievement for all our departments who have been working hard to realise Blenheim Palace’s vision to become a leading, sustainable visitor attraction within the UK”

Jon Proctor, Leading Grading Advisor for Green Tourism stated “The awards review committee were very impressed with the journey Blenheim is on, one which doesn’t end now but is only beginning. Blenheim helps to demonstrate that we really can maintain a rich quality of life and save the planet also.”  Jon explains in more detail  “Blenheim is an iconic visitor attraction with a wealth of cultural and natural history making it one of the UKs most important palaces. It is what lies beneath the surface which really demonstrates how green Blenheim really is. The education department work with local schools and have created a number of green themes relating to where food originates and the kitchen garden and minimising waste. The use of renewables and the investments in microhyrdo are outstanding and done without causing any intrusion into what is a wonderful historical context. The estate farm has a biogas plant and green energy extends to the estate houses. Overall Blenheim Palace demonstrates what can be done to be sustainable and retain our wonderfully rich heritage”

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