Blenheim Palace Delivers Positive Impact
Blenheim Palace joined the Network earlier this year, as they seek to demonstrate leadership locally, nationally and globally on the issue of sustainability. We caught up with Heather and Jacqueline, committed to delivering an ambitious strategy of social and environmental impact over the next ten years.
Blenheim Palace is a vast estate and World Heritage site in North-West Oxfordshire, currently home to the 12th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough. Within the physical walls of the estate, Blenheim owns over 2000 acres of land, with several thousand more beyond. This includes around 300 buildings that are used by tenant farmers and residents. They run several businesses including a water bottling line and a property portfolio.
Blenheim Palace has made significant headway in its efforts to deliver sustainability and are keen to up their game. They have held the Green Tourism Business Gold award for eight years, committing them to achieve the highest standards of sustainability through energy efficiency, renewable generation, green procurement and better overall working practises. As part of this Blenheim Palace has produced a visitor charter outlining what visitors, staff, the local community and businesses can expect from the Estate. You can download the Charter here.
The Estate’s power is supplemented by a self-supply woodchip biomass boiler (250kwh) and their hydro supplies homes within the Estate with 78,000kWh of renewable energy each year. This saves them between £19-26,000 annually and has reduced carbon emissions by 42,000 kg over the same period. The latest renewable source to be installed is 196 solar panels, generating 50kwh of clean electricity. Blenheim Palace has plans to increase the amount of renewable energy produced over the coming years.
Waste and Water
The team have put a lot of work into resource management, including identifying and managing leaks from the water pipes around the estate, and using an effective waste management practise at their water bottling plant. They are now looking at how they can further engage visitors, manage large waste contracts effectively and work with other Network members to learn from different experiences.
Environmental Stewardship is high on the Estate’s agenda, and they are committed to a ten year agreement with Natural England that focuses on ensuring careful environmental management of hedges and walls, the promotion of biodiversity and woodland restoration.
There is a big emphasis at Blenheim Palace on supporting local businesses and giving back to the community. They work to source supplies from as close to the estate as possible and are currently developing sustainable procurement guidelines that will support this work. They are beginning to use some of the produce from the Estate in the public restaurants and cafes – as local as it can be!
There is huge amount of extra work going on behind the scenes, including explorations into clean transport, sustainable building projects and engagement with visitors to Blenheim Palace. We are delighted to welcome them as new members at this exciting stage of their journey.