Our Environmental Responsibilities
We are committed as a business to minimise the impact our cottages have on the environment in this beautiful area, which means making some commitments and asking our visitors to take a few easy steps with us to minimize our impact on the environment. Some of the ways we are doing this are:-
Green Tourism Business Scheme
We are members of the Green Tourism Business Scheme which offers credible, trustworthy, independent guidance to tourism businesses wishing to operate sustainably. This means minimising energy waste and water resources used, as well as celebrating positive aspects of our culture and ecology. It means working constructively with the community and the supply chain through positive social and ethical choices.
We first joined the GTBS in 2014 and we were delighted to achieve a Gold Award, the highest grading, on our very first inspection. This is what the Inspector said after his visit to Old Rectory cottages:-
“Located in a stunning rural Suffolk location, Old Rectory Cottages enter the Green Tourism programme with a GOLD award on their first visit. Keith and family have ensured that a number of good practice measures have been implemented including A‐rated appliances, well insulated buildings, green cleaners, good recycling practices and green laundry practices. Of particular note are the excellent wildlife friendly areas on site including a pond with a stunning view over the local area and an Orchard filled with Old Suffolk varieties. Accessible information is also provided on the website to aid those less able with two cottages suitable for wheelchair guests.”
The GTBS is now the main sustainable tourism certification scheme in the UK and we were assessed against a rigorous set of environmental impact and sustainable criteria. The Gold Award indicates that we are working in the right direction! But we’re not resting on our laurels. We have a Green Business Improvement Plan and there are many more things that we want to change to further reduce the impact that our business has on the environment.
Recycling and Purchasing
We recycle paper, cardboard, tins, plastic and glass bottles, batteries and silver foil and garden waste. Compost caddies are provided in our cottages and there is access to compost bins. When building we use recycled materials when possible. We provide shopping bags in the cottages to avoid using disposable bags.
We have installed water butts and we use the recycled rainwater for the garden and vegetable patch.
We re-use office paper, plastic bags, feed bags etc and try to keep refuse to a minimum.
We use phosphate & chlorine free cleaning materials to avoid the risk of damaging animal & plant life
Toilet paper, kitchen roll etc is made from recycled paper.
We provide 100% degradable refuse and waste bin sacks for your use for refuse that cannot be recycled.
Guests with dogs are provided with a supply of bio degradable disposal bags.
Use of Energy
We have opted for electricity produced from renewable sources. We make regular reviews of electricity prices and suppliers from renewable sources.
Thermostatic valves on radiators save energy.
To conserve energy we have replaced all light bulbs, with low energy bulbs.
We line dry washing where possible.
We have installed efficient oil fired boilers, which we ensure are regularly serviced
When purchasing new electrical appliances we ensure they are energy efficient.
We use e-mail & our website to promote and administer Old Rectory Cottages where possible, reducing the amount of paper used.
Binoculars, books, maps and guides are provided for bird-watchers, walkers, nature-lovers etc.
Birds are encouraged with nest-boxes and bird baths and year round feeding in the garden.
We continue to plant large amounts of native hedging and trees to attract birds and other wildlife.
We also encourage other wildlife by creating dead wood piles and using insect attractive plants.
We have created a large wildlife pond, which is lined with naturally occurring puddled clay rather than a plastic liner.
Our fruit orchard which we began to plant in 2006 is being managed in a traditional manner. We have planted a range of fruit trees (apples, pears & plums) on half standard rootstocks which are being grown in unimproved grassland. As the trees mature they will create ideal food sources and habitats for other wildlife to use, such as mosses and lichens, fungi, and numerous species of mammals, insects and birds.
We are beginning to develop an area of the field as a wildflower area and in our field & orchard we try to follow a mowing programme that is sympathetic to plants & wildlife.
We try to minimise the use of chemicals in the garden.
We comply with the requirements of environmental legislation and approved codes of practice and have minimised our risk associated with environmental and social emissions.
We are happy to show guests around and talk about what we’ve done and other nature conservation projects we are planning.
Keeping it Local – Saving Fuel Emissions
We shop locally for our meat and vegetables and buy as much British food as possible, the menus we offer make use of fresh, local, seasonal produce.
Homemade cakes, biscuits and marmalade in your welcome pack are made by us As our trees mature, our menus include fruit harvested from our trees.
We make it easy to minimise the use of the car during your stay. There is plenty of information in each cottage giving details of local attractions, activities and nearby walks, as well as timetables for local buses
We promote local food suppliers to our guests and provide a welcome basket for them to sample local produce.
Local workers are used for all building & maintenance work to the cottages.
We involve ourselves in local community activities and enterprises
We hope that guests will support us in an effort to conserve energy, by simply turning off lights that are not needed, ensuring that the heating thermostat is not unnecessarily high, and we ask that guests use water considerately.
We encourage guests to recycle and provide facilities to recycle glass, cardboard, paper, tins and plastics.
We encourage guests to shop locally, to visit local pubs and restaurants.
We provide bags for guests to use for shopping instead of plastic bags.
We ask guests to follow our suggestions for the disposal of various types of waste so that they cause minimum pollution
Please adopt the ‘countryside code’ when walking or cycling
We encourage guests to explore ways of enjoying your holiday with minimum use of your car (and exploring public transport!).
We welcome guest’s comments and suggestions on how we can improve on our environmental policy.