About The Awards
This year (2013/14), 610 holiday parks received a David Bellamy Conservation Award for the work they’ve done to the protect and enhance Britain’s natural environment.
The variety of work being done by these parks is phenomenal – from the creation of new wildlife meadows and woodlands to the construction of solar-powered shower blocks and energy-efficient lodges made out of recycled plastic, parks are active across the country.
How are the awards judged?
The parks that take part in the scheme are all regularly assessed by the scheme’s team of local wildlife experts. The assessors look at the steps parks are taking to:
- Manage their land as a haven for wildlife
- Reduce their use of energy, water and other resources
- Reduce, reuse and recycle the waste they produce
- Support their local communities
David Bellamy uses the assessors’ reports (and any comments received from members of the public) to make his awards each year. Three levels of excellence can be achieved: Gold, Silver and Bronze.
What will an award winning park be like?
Amongst the award winners you’ll find a wide range of parks: From peaceful, hideaway places, where you’ll be able to enjoy a real ‘back-to-nature’ holiday experience; to larger ‘leisure parks’, where you and your family will be able to enjoy more facilities, along with the knowledge that the park you’re visiting is committed to environmental excellence.
Whichever one you choose you can pat yourself on the back, safe in the knowledge that you’ve made a greener choice – and that you’ll have a holiday full of natural enjoyment.
A bit of history
The David Bellamy Conservation Award Scheme is one of the longest running green tourism awards in the UK. The idea of the scheme was first sown when David Bellamy gave a talk to members of the camping, caravanning and holiday home park industry in which he gave the audience members a challenge to be part of the environmental solution and not part of the problem. David was then invited to visit many parks and was amazed at the wide range of work that the most forward-thinking owners were doing for the environment. David was so impressed that a partnership was formed between the Conservation Foundation (the environmental organisation that David co-founded to help businesses get involved in conservation) and the British Holiday & Home Parks Association to set up an award scheme.
The scheme proper started with a pilot programme in 1996 and the first awards were made in 1997. As is the case today, assessors for the scheme were drawn from local wildlife trusts and other local conservation bodies. The idea behind the awards has also remained the same since those early days: to celebrate what the best parks are doing for the British countryside and to encourage others to follow their lead. “One of the first comments David made about the scheme remains true today: “My dream is to upgrade all caravan parks up to some sort of conservation status so that they can educate the visiting public and help them respect and care for the countryside.”
In the years since it was set up, the David Bellamy Conservation Awards scheme has grown in scope and stature and has even inspired similar award schemes abroad – most notable the Gumnut award scheme in Australia which plays a similar role in that country’s camping and caravanning world. The scheme has developed organically, but saw a major revision of its judging criteria in 2007/8. This was done to acknowledge the increasing importance of sustainability issues such as energy saving on both the industry, public and governmental agendas. With more and more businesses realising that being green is something that is well worth doing, the future of the scheme looks set to be as exciting and innovative as its past.