Blenheim Palace, one of the most famous stately homes of Britain, has become the 2000th member of the Green Tourism Business Scheme in a special ceremony carried out by Conservative Party leader David Cameron.
The ancestral home of one of England’s greatest military heroes, the Duke of Marlborough, and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill has been awarded a Silver grading by the UK’s leading green tourism promotional body in recognition of its commitment to helping the environment.
Local MP David Cameron presented the Duke of Marlborough with a Heritage Tree to mark the Palace’s continued commitment to conservation and the environment.
The Perth-based Green Tourism Business Scheme is the leading sustainable tourism certification scheme in the UK honouring businesses that demonstrate high levels of commitment in protecting the environment and promoting sustainable tourism with Bronze, Silver and Gold awards.
Award winners are scrutinised by qualified assessors on more than 145 separate measures – including efficient lighting and heating, nature conservation, use of renewable energy, buying local produce and community involvement – before being appointed the relevant grading.
Blenheim Palace, just eight miles from Oxford and already a World Heritage Site since 1987, entered assessments for Green Tourism for the first time this year.
“We are very proud to be the 2000th member of the Green Tourism Business Scheme,” said Heather Carter, Head of Operations at Blenheim Palace.
“We are very committed to working in a sustainable way and with green issues now very much in the mainstream we have undertaken many important actions in order to improve our environmental and social performance.”
Among changes made within the palace and its 2,100 acres of parkland in the heart of Oxfordshire has been the introduction of low energy lighting and timers on the spectacular fountains so they go off at night. Palace staff have also started using more eco friendly cleaning products, improved recycling practices and stepped-up support of locally produced foods.
“Tourism is a major industry in the UK generating wealth and employment”, commented Penelope, Viscountess Cobham, Chairman of the national tourist board. VisitEngland is delighted to be working with GTBS to ensure the sustainability of England’s tourism assets.”
The GTBS is already considered one of the most rigorous green accreditation schemes in the world and is the only certification scheme validated by VisitEngland, the national tourist board.
“Blenheim Palace is an icon of the British landscape and we are very proud to admit them to the growing family of GTBS members across the UK,” said Andrea Nicholas, Director of the Green Tourism Business Scheme.
“The palace has worked hard to obtain a Silver grading and has shown real commitment to the environment and to improving the sustainable use of resources. It is a shining example to others of how such magnificent monuments to Britain’s past can help lead the way to preserving our future.”
For more information about the GTBS please visit www.green-business.co.uk or call Andrea Nicholas on 01738 632162.
GTBS was founded in partnership with VisitScotland in 1997. The Perth-based organisation has members in every corner of the UK and has been asked to help with the setting up of similar schemes in other countries as far afield as Sweden and New Zealand.
Further details about Blenheim Palace and can be obtained from Hannah Payne, Marketing Manager at Blenheim Palace on 01993 810524 or visit www.blenheimpalace.com.
Over the past year Blenheim Palace has won a number of awards, including;
- Silver winner in the Enjoy England National Awards for Excellence 2009 in the ‘Large Visitor Attraction of the Year’ category
- Winner of the 25th Historic Houses Association/Christies ‘Garden of the Year’ Award
- Winner of the Oxfordshire Business Award “Ice Energy Environmental Award for Property and Construction” for the Blenheim Palace Sawmills
VisitEngland the national tourist board is the strategic leadership body representing the public and private sector stakeholders of English Tourism. It works in partnership with VisitBritain, the RDAs and local authorities, and the private sector, creating a national tourism strategy, optimising marketing investment, and developing the visitor experience across England. For more information see www.enjoyengland.com/green
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