The Needles takes green issues very seriously because our environment is of particular interest to us. Indeed, The Needles has recently been working towards a Green Island Tourism Award and the initial review was extremely positive.
We are involved with the Carbon Trust and across the site we put up posters and information for all staff to become more aware of relevant environmental issues and to encourage them to ‘switch off’ and ‘think green’. Likewise, we operate a large recycling scheme here at The Needles where we actively recycle paper/card, plastic, glass, as well as office items such as printer cartridges, mobile phones, oil and food waste. This is being extended to the purchase of a selection of new recycling bins to encourage our visitors to do their bit.
We have changed all the Light bulbs in the Alum Bay Glass Studio shop to energy saving variant and we estimate that this will reduce our KWPH by 75%. We have also installed low energy bulbs across the site this winter as part of our ongoing improvement programme.
We encourage staff to print less and keep things on the computer and most of our office equipment has timers so if they have not been used for a while they automatically switch off. Our rides are operated efficiently to save energy – we do not run them for 1 person we wait for there to be a few people to ride. We try where we can to use recycled paper and 80% of Alum Bay Glass’s packaging is recycled.
We give all staff, even those that work in the summer months, a free bus pass to get to and from work. We encourage all staff to use this benefit and not to drive their own vehicles to help the environment, 90% of our staff use the bus for work. The 10% that do drive all tend to car share which also helps.
Our visual environment is extremely important especially as we are located in a SSSI and AONB therefore we are trying to improve the ‘look’ of the site. For example we moved our recycling containers and built a green fence in front of them to screen them. All our future building plans include natural tones and we always think how it will fit within the environment. We have an Alum Bay beach protection plan where we tape off the coloured cliffs to visitors to help protect the natural environment. We also do beach checks every day and clean up rubbish to keep it looking as natural as possible.
We are involved with Gift of Nature and have their collection tins on site to help raise money for them. This works very well with money raised so far is £149.74 all of which goes towards Island conservation and enhancement projects. Likewise, in the last few years we have increased our planting across the site and now it is better than ever. We encourage wildlife through native trees and shrubs and have a couple of bird boxes and feeders available for our feathered friends. We also plan to develop this and have information boards about the animals that can be seen in and around The Needles.
Through the refit of our toilets last winter we installed better water management flush systems, sensor taps and leak monitoring. As we receive such a lot of visitors these things are very important to keep a close eye on and, by turning off lights, saving water and being more aware we have reduced our energy bills to date by 3%.
We would like to pass on the awareness to all our visitors asking them to help us help the environment in various ways when they are away from home. Through signage and messages we will encouraging them to bin their rubbish, visit us by bus, turn lights and taps off and ask them to have one less bag. We will also communicate these positive messages to our staff and visitors and the media as and when required. Recently shortlisted for the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce Green Award we will continue to enter various awards and shout about what we are achieving.
We are closely involved with Eco Island which aims to lead the Isle of Wight towards becoming the UK’s leading sustainable community. The Needles has a responsibility to the environment and we will continue to look at more ways to help save the environment for the future.