For anyone who has already visited Slapton, you will have seen what a beautiful and ecologically important place it is. We want to help protect the natural world and work with our stakeholders to run an environmentally sensitive centre. As such we’ve written an eco-code which supports us in our environmental activities.
Slapton Ley Field Centre Eco-Code
The staff at SLFC will take agreed actions to improve environmental policy and practice and to promote environmentalism and sustainability through the Field Centre’s activities.
We will aim to:
- Monitor our use of water and energy and set targets for reducing the amount used.
- Reduce the amount of waste we produce by reusing and recycling as much as possible.
- Reduce our use of fossil fuels for transport by coordinating student journeys and car sharing wherever possible.
- Purchase environmentally and socially sound produce.
- Minimise our impact upon teaching sites and improve the outdoor environment.
- Inform and involve all those who have contact with the centre of ways in which they can live more sustainably.
- Be involved in partnerships with other local groups and the community.
This eco-code forms a basis on which we develop Slapton Ley Field Centre and its educational efforts regarding environmental sustainability. The FSC as an organisation also has its own environmental policy which informs this one and the practices of the FSC as a whole.
At Slapton, we are always looking to improve on past achievements; continuing to develop the eco-credentials of the centre. We focus our efforts on 6 main topics.
At Slapton we try our best to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Through careful purchasing and extensive recycling we have managed with the help of our visitors to reduce our landfill waste by 30%.
Whenever possible we reuse materials. A fantastic example is our field equipment – old margarine pots for weighing shingle and collecting snails, broken metre rulers become classroom rulers and used juice bottles become containers for infiltration investigations.
The kitchen is also consistently innovating ways to re-use materials. They provide used bread-bags for visitors to use for their pack lunches and recycle left-overs into staff lunches for the next day. Any food waste not re-used is sent to Langage Farm Anaerobic Digester where it is converted into fertiliser, producing electricity along the way!
Obviously we do end up with some waste but we recycle anything that we can. Old electrical equipment is passed on to our IT consultant John who tries to find them a new lease of life. Those materials not collected by the council such as plastics and tetra-packs are collected by our staff team and taken to recycling centres.
For the more commonly recycled goods such as glass, cardboard, plastic bottles and cans we have numerous recycling bins all over site to make it easy for visitors and staff to recycle. In response to visitor feedback we continue to expand our recycling facilities with paper bins now in bedrooms and staff sitting rooms.
Energy consumption is very much a key issue, constantly in the news and much debated. Here at Slapton we try to reduce our energy consumption as much as possible, as well as producing energy in sustainable and efficient ways.
We use oil to heat some buildings including our staff accommodation. However the majority of heating and hot water for our visitor accommodation and classrooms is sourced from renewable energy. We have a biomass boiler which provides 100% of the hot water and heating to three of our buildings, while our ground source heat pump provides heating for another.
We’ve had solar panels at the Field Centre since 2006. The South West receives more solar radiation than anywhere else in the UK so they are ideally placed. Our solar panels were installed with funding from the Energy Saving Trust. They provide 5% of our electricity – on average producing over 21,000KWh per year. That’s enough to boil over 10,000 kettles or run 140 computers.
We encourage our visitors to reduce their energy consumption as much as possible both during their stay and after visiting the field centre. Small efforts such as turning off un-used lighting all add up to make a big difference.
For our part, as well as installing renewable energy technologies, we try to ensure that the energy produced is not wasted. Over the years we have replaced old equipment with new energy efficient appliances including ‘A’ rated kitchen fridges and photocopiers. We have also invested in double glazing and insulation across site. This combined with boiler replacements resulted in a complete upgrade of heating across all buildings on site in 2011.
At certain times of the year, it is difficult to understand why we should make any effort to save water. However when you consider the investment required to produce clean, drinkable water the benefits of conserving water become obvious.
Reducing water consumption
We try to save water wherever possible. We fit water-saving devices into all our bathrooms to help reduce the amount of water used by visitors. Our famous composting toilet uses no water whatsoever as well as producing a useful by-product. It also helps us to challenge peoples’ perceptions on how we use water in our day-to-day lives.
Our welly wash is one of our relatively recent innovations in an attempt to use rainwater instead of mains water. We also use rainwater for our hydrology investigations and are looking for further ways that we can use rain-water harvesting to improve our sustainable efforts.
Food is an issue which is ever in the public eye. Increasingly we are living in a global community bringing new foods to our tables. This can have notable environmental impacts as foods are transported around the world and grown in greenhouses out of their traditional growing season.
As a nation we are now seeing a desire to reduce food miles and return to the use of local and perhaps more importantly, seasonal produce. Obviously we can’t source all of our food locally but where possible we use local and seasonal produce. Below you can meet some of our local suppliers:
MC Kelly are located on a farm in Mid Devon. They supply our chicken.
We like their chicken because it is local, free range and Halal.
Nearly Naked Veg Company
A family firm. Suppliers of our fresh vegetables from their farm as well as fruit & veg markets.
We like that they promote local and seasonal veg when they can.
Mark sources his fish from Brixham harbour, 13 miles away
He provides us with sustainably caught, fresh fish
Located only 3 miles away from the field centre at Stokeley Farm.
We like their hand made quality sausages from local farms.
Bruckner and Sons
Our milk suppliers are only 8 miles away in Dartmouth.
They also supply us with free-range eggs, all from local farms.