September 17, 2015
The end of summer has seen the start of the assessment process for the 2015 David Bellamy Conservation Award Scheme. Since the middle of June, the scheme’s assessors have been going out into the field to vet over 560 holiday and home parks on the work they are doing for Britain’s wildlife and environment.
“The first tranche of assessments has already come in,” says Rufus Bellamy, who helps David run the scheme. “Even though it’s early days, we’re already getting some great feedback about what parks are doing – from planting native trees, shrubs and wildflowers and to working with local communities to reduce litter. From what we’ve seen so far, it’s clear that the parks that are involved in the scheme continue to be real forces for positive change in the countryside.”
Among the new initiatives that assessors have highlighted are revamped recycling systems that have led to a drop in rubbish going to landfill, the introduction of solar panels and a biomass boiler to heat a park’s swimming pool and the creation of log piles to provide a valuable new habitat for small mammals, reptiles and amphibians.
This year the award scheme has asked parks to make a pledge to do their bit to help Britain’s honey bees. The new initiative, which is a link-up with the British Beekeepers Association, is proving to be very popular, with over 100 parks signed up.
For example, a park in Cornwall has undertaken a Pollinator Survey which has come up with a ‘top 10’ list of recommendations for what it should do to help bees and other insects. The park is now acting on the results of the survey and is providing more of the forage crops that pollinators need to survive.
The assessors for the David Bellamy scheme are drawn from local wildlife trusts and other local conservation bodies. They look at the steps parks are taking to manage their land as a haven for wildlife, to reduce their use of energy, water and other resources, to reduce, reuse and recycle the waste they produce and to 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.
The David Bellamy Conservation Award Scheme is one of the longest running green tourism awards in the UK. The scheme proper started with a pilot programme in 1996 and the first awards were made in 1997. For more information visit: www.bellamyparks.co.uk. You can also follow the scheme on Twitter (@BellamyParks)