Bath & North East Somerset Council is committed to addressing the causes and effects of climate change and is a Beacon Council for Waste.
Heritage Services Environmental Statement
Bath and North East Somerset Council declared a Climate Emergency in March 2019. Heritage Services, is a business unit within the Council that manages the Roman Baths, Fashion Museum, Victoria Art Gallery, Bath Film Office, Bath Record Office and the World Heritage Site. Heritage Services manages its activities, buildings and estates to promote environmental sustainability, conserve and enhance natural resources, prevent environmental pollution, and bring about a continual improvement in its environmental performance.
We will continue to reduce our environmental impact and help to address the climate crisis. This environmental statement documents what we are already doing and sets out a range of objectives and targets to:
- Implement sound environmental management practices
- Increase awareness of environmental responsibilities amongst staff
- Implement practices that reduce our carbon footprint
- Minimise waste and pollution and operate effective waste management procedures
- Reduce the consumption of non-renewable sources of energy
- Reduce water consumption
- Evaluate suppliers’ environmental credentials as part of the procurement process and give preference as far as is practicable to suppliers, products and services who score highly for environmental sustainability
- Minimise the use of environmentally damaging substances, materials and processes
- Maintain our buildings in an environmentally sensitive way
- Invest in the conservation of our heritage collections and assets
- Encourage modes of transport by visitors and staff which minimise their environmental impact
- Implement Council-wide actions as a result of the declared Climate Emergency.
What we have done and currently do:
- Our events and venues team works closely with Great Western Railway to offer discount packages to delegates to encourage rail travel
- Our websites advise travel by public transport to Bath and gives distances from Bath Spa railway station. Car travel is the last to be listed and use of the Park and Ride is encouraged
- We promote Bath BID’s bus discount scheme with First Bus to all our staff to encourage travel on public transport
- We encourage walking and using rail for our staff to travel to offsite meetings
- We work closely with our Travel Trade partners to advise them of the Council’s clean air zone, and to encourage them to adapt their vehicle fleets where necessary to respect its requirements and objectives.
- We promote ourselves as part of a wider trip to Bath to encourage a longer stay in the city
- We offer free entry for our residents as part of the Resident's Discovery Card Scheme to encourage them to visit with their visiting friends and relatives, who put less pressure on the environment by staying in their homes instead of hotels.
Waste, recycling and plastics
- With our catering provider Searcys we have eliminated the use of plastic straws
- Our shops use recyclable paper bags and 100% biodegradable carrier bags. In line with DEFRA we charge for plastic carrier bags and the proceeds (after tax) go to the Roman Baths Foundation at the Roman Baths, The Glove Collection Trust at the Fashion Museum and to the Friends of the Victoria Art Gallery at the Gallery. Our aim is to stop offering plastic bags completely by 2022
- We do not use plastic cups at our sites. We use paper cups that are compostable and biodegradable for spa water tasting at the Roman Baths.
- Offices and meeting rooms have motion-sensitive lights which turn off automatically after the room has been vacated
- We regularly audit the lighting used on site to ensure reduced energy consumption. Flood-lighting installed in the Great Bath in 2007 reduced energy consumption by 60%
- Staff are encouraged to close windows and internal doors when leaving the office or meeting facility they have been using
- Our computers and monitors have auto-switch off
- Our public toilets have automatic mixer taps which help save water.
- The Council employs a Think Local policy with regard to the procurement of goods and services. This means lower delivery emissions and fewer meetings where long distance travel is necessary
- We work with a catering provider who sources local ingredients wherever possible.
Funders and sponsorship
We will neither seek nor accept funding from an individual or organisation if it is profiting as a result of environmental destruction.
Our aims for the future
We acknowledge that there is always more we can do and so we have outlined some actions we will try to implement, over the next two years:
- Map our carbon footprint, to better understand how our activities contribute to it
- Replace the 1993 heat exchange system at the Roman Baths with an updated version. The heat exchange system uses energy from the thermal spring water to heat the building. This new scheme will be extended to provide heating for the new Clore Learning Centre and the World Heritage Centre.
- Offer discounts on entry to those who show a valid rail ticket with the current date
- Purchase an electric or hybrid van for use in transporting stock and goods to our sites
- Work with our catering provider to offer meat free incentives such as meat free Mondays and continue to encourage our catering partners to develop more plant based menus
- Introduce a staff ‘green’ champions scheme and encourage a similar scheme for our catering partners
- Survey staff across the service for their innovative impact reduction ideas
- Take part in green weeks and celebrations e.g. Earth Day that are relevant to Heritage
- Where relevant reference climate and sustainability in Heritage learning provision
- Include an environmental impact assessment as part of the criteria for agreeing touring exhibitions, and loans in/out, including the transport associated with them
- Take part in the Arts Council’s environmental programme.
This is an interim position statement and will be revised and updated as these aims are achieved or new measures identified.