As a conservation charity the National Trust has sustainable practice at its very core.
Our gardens provide the ideal examples not only of how environmental sustainability is achieved through all that we do, but also how we engage and excite our members and visitors.
Maintaining the quality and historic integrity of our gardens is as much a part of our sustainability approach as conserving our buildings for the enjoyment of all.
With this in mind, the National Trust developed a framework for our gardeners and park managers to improve the sustainability of their operations –
“National Trust Environmental Standard for Gardens”.
Three levels of environmental standard for gardens and parks have been developed:
- Bronze standard = low-cost, unobtrusive measures which build on a baseline review of garden operations.
1) Use of energy efficiently
2) Use of water efficiently
3) Optimise the use of rainwater
4) Compost garden waste
5) Re-use or recycle materials
- Silver standard = Takes the foundations laid at the Bronze level, developing further the integration of low energy management techniques, the reduction of water demand and waste generation.
- Gold standard = The final step along the route to achieving a carbon neutral, waste neutral garden operation. The incorporation of renewable energy generation, mains free water operations, 100% of garden and catering waste being composted.
Head gardeners inWalesagreed to take the lead within the Trust in order to develop an auditable approach to environmental sustainability for all of the Garden operations inWales.
Using the Bronze, Silver and Gold standard Keith and I have been working with the gardens teams to produce baseline audits for all our garden operations. An initial score being allocated to each against the bronze level, with improvement plans developed for all in order to gain “Bronze accreditation” across the whole of Wales.
The ownership of the system will lie with the gardeners themselves, and they will ensure the levels are achieved and maintained across all properties by internally auditing each others property operations against the requirements of the standard.
We have set ourselves a target of achieving Bronze standard acrossWalesby the end of 2012, with progress towards “Silver” being achieved in 2013.
Keith and I are also developing links with various horticultural bodies in order to develop an external audit and accreditation team.
How do our gardens grow? = Sustainably.