“The Ironbridge Gorge is well known as the Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution and with the introduction of the mass use of fossil fuels in the eighteenth century, some might suggest that the Gorge was also the birthplace of global warming. Now in a picturesque valley, the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, that operates the ten museums within the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site, understands the need for sound sustainable business practices and has a strong Green Policy that covers many aspects of its business.
Anna Brennand, Chief Executive Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust explains: “Working in such a beautiful and historically important part of the world, the staff, volunteers and Trustees are passionate about ensuring that we operate in an environmentally sensitive fashion. Over the last six years we have worked hard to change the way we operate, to ensure that we reduce our carbon footprint and we are delighted that all our efforts have been recognised with a Gold Award from the Green Tourism Business Scheme.”
The judges were impressed that, given the Trust’s many historic buildings spread across 10 different sites, it still demonstrates excellent practices in carbon reduction management, such as the extensive use of low energy light bulbs, purchasing energy on Green Tariffs and a culture of turning lights off and thermostats down.
Recycling is always important when running a business in a sustainable fashion. The Museum has its own paper and cardboard recycling skips at Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron that are also available for the local community to use and all of its refuse is sent for mixed waste recycling. Products for the catering outlets are sourced locally and the Museum also stocks many locally produced goods in its shops.
The Trust works with many partners in the World Heritage Site. In partnership with Telford & Wrekin Council it aims to reduce traffic movements in the Gorge by encouraging visitors to use the Ironbridge Park and Ride and Gorge Connect Bus. It has also taken advice from The Severn Gorge Countryside Trust and introduced bird and bat boxes to help support the local wildlife.
Anna Brennand concludes: “Achieving a Gold Award is wonderful and demonstrates that we can operate our museums in a sustainable way, enhancing our visitors’ experience whilst minimising our impact on the environment.”
The Green Business Tourism Scheme is the world’s leading sustainable tourism accreditation scheme. There are currently only two visitor attractions in the whole of the West Midlands to have been awarded an award. Chedham’s Yard in Warwickshire recently achieved a bronze award and received much advice and support from ‘veteran’ Green Business, Ironbridge.Congratulations to Ironbridge for climbing the ladder from silver to gold! Many of the Reducing Bills: GoingGreen museums are aiming to achieve awards too and we look forward to sharing knowledge across us all.from Ironbridge website