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Green Business Network

Woburn Safari Park goes greener with BETI+

Woburn Safari Park needs little in the way of introductions, with its large grounds and strong emphasis on conservation and animal welfare. In fact, the Park has brought the Pere David deer back from extinction and is now helping to repopulate the animal back into its native China.

The elephant house at Woburn Safari Park has been designed to be environmentally friendlyWith this background, it’s no surprise that Woburn has a willingness to embrace environmental issues. In fact, the Park has been working on improving its environmental performance since 2002, when management and staff jointly formed an enthusiastic committee to start the process of becoming registered to ISO 14001. Adele Clegg, Head of Learning at the Park, explained: “Everything we value means we have to consider the environment. We felt we had to start putting measures into practice.”

However, while some projects, such as switch-off schemes, had been introduced, three years down the line, the Park was no nearer to achieving ISO 14001 – and this despite everyone’s best efforts to understand the requirements of the standard. Adele says: “We’d started to flounder, and really had no clue where to start. We’d hit a brick wall and needed help to continue to make progress.”

The BETI+ project couldn’t have come at a better time for the Park and it jumped at the chance to benefit from training and help to gain ISO 14001. One member of staff attended the CIWM Waste Awareness course and this gave him a good grounding in waste legislation, but the real turning point came when Adele went on the CIEH Level 3 Environmental Management course. She says: “This really started the ball rolling and, for the first time, we could plan where we were going.”

Workshops focusing on practical implementation of ISO 14001 were also on offer and Adele got a lot out of these also – not just from the tutor, but also from interaction and discussions with the rest of the group.

“We were able to share ideas, help each other out with issues or problems and generally discuss anything we’d done,” Adele Clegg, Head of Learning at the Park.

Four days of on-site support to help develop the ISO 14001 manuals and implement the system was also included within the project, and Adele said this was “absolutely fantastic”. The Park now has an updated and fit for purpose environmental policy, a register of aspects and impacts, a compliance register and an environmental management system that is three-quarters documented. A pre-audit by a certification body is on the cards for April 2008 and the Park plans to have full registration in September or October once the busy summer business peak trading comes to an end.

Environmental benefits introduced since going down the ISO 14001 route have included separating waste to increase recycling, reusing packaging wherever possible, sending waste kitchen oil for bio-diesel, insulating existing buildings properly and monitoring temperatures to ensure heating is kept at a constant temperature, switching off appliances not in use, and ensuring that new buildings are made from sustainable materials and make best use of technology to reduce water and energy consumption. Progress with these and many other initiatives is ongoing.

In addition, training for all staff is being rolled out as Adele uses the skills she’s learnt to train and educate others at the Park.

So, Adele’s verdict on what the Park has gained? “If it wasn’t for the BETI+ programme, we’d still be stumbling around without a clear idea of what could be achieved and how to go about it.”