Introducing our New Network Champion
Our Network Champion series is about recognising Fit for the Future members who are doing outstanding work within their own organisation, and towards helping us achieve our mission.
We’re very pleased to introduce our latest champion, Miranda Campbell, the National Trust’s Environmental Practices Adviser for the East of England. We asked Miranda about some of the inspiring work she has been doing, and her future vision for a sustainable National Trust.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your role?
My role is to support our 37 properties across six counties to improve their environmental performance. This is mainly through energy, water and waste reduction, pollution prevention, and replacing fossil fuels with renewable sources of energy. I’ve worked on environmental management for over 22 years in a variety of sectors.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
The variety! I’ve just had my ten year work anniversary with the Trust and have not had a moment of boredom. I have the privilege of working in some very diverse properties, from the traditional buildings of Blickling Hall and Ickworth House to the marshes of Essex and the stark but highly atmospheric former atomic weapons research establishment at Orford Ness.
My role is also interesting because there are so many challenges and opportunities.
“It’s largely about understanding and working with what you have and not giving up hope that there is a solution out there somewhere!”
I’ve found that environmental management in many companies or organisations focuses on reducing negative – often indirect- environmental impacts, whereas we have a massive opportunity to directly improve the environment, by creating new habitats or increasing biodiversity through our land management for example.
How are your involved in making your organisation more sustainable?
One minute I can be discussing how we can reduce food waste in our kitchens, or hearing about how new mowing regimes in the gardens provide better habitats whilst reducing fossil fuel usage, the next I’m looking at sustainability aspects of a proposed new visitor centre, or how we can link newly installed solar panels to the story of a place. I’m especially keen to share ideas with other organisations, which also helps us to find effective and timely solutions.
Tell us about a project you are particular proud of
Anything that gets us off oil! We’re now using 40% less oil than we were in 2009 and across the East of England region are generating over 10% of our energy through our own renewable energy systems, with many more in the pipeline.
At Ickworth, we’ve entirely eliminated heating oil from the buildings that we directly manage. That’s nearly 50,000 litres of oil a year, all of which had a potential to spill onto our land or into water courses and cause extensive damage. Instead there is now is a range of renewable technologies – a large woodchip boiler, a log boiler and air source heat pump – heating the various different buildings.
All woodfuel is sourced from thinning work in the extensive plantation forest belt that runs around the Ickworth estate, which in turn is improving the woodland habitats. High quality timber is either used on site or sawn into planks and sold at the annual Ickworth Wood and Craft Fair, helping to fund further conservation work.
“I enjoy helping to ensure that every system is appropriate to the property concerned and turning a fuel supply ‘chain’ into a ‘loop’ is very rewarding.”
Which other organisations have you worked with through Fit for the Future?
We have a close relationship with Adnams, who are based in our region and are doing fantastic things to ensure their brewery operates as sustainably as possible. We’ve shared our experiences and visited each other’s sites to see sustainable solutions in action. Adnams also kindly supported the Environmental Awards we ran to recognise the great work of our staff and volunteers.
I’ve also worked with fellow Fit for the Future members Lambeth Palace to share experiences and ideas for effective energy management.
What would be your future vision for the National Trust in terms of sustainability?
Seamless integration of sustainability into every aspect of our operations. Technology will play a major role in the future with exciting use of kinetic fibres, plant based materials, battery storage and smart controls, but people will still be at the heart of it: making informed decisions, showing others that it can be done and how, and working towards a common mission of protecting special places ‘Forever, For Everyone’.
Meet our past Network Champions here and find out more about successful partnerships between Fit for the Future members.