Peer Consultancy – Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

One of the services of the Network is setting up peer consultancies between members. A peer consultancy is the opportunity to invite members to have a walk around your site or building and receive impartial advice from them based on their own experiences, so you can advance projects more quickly and with better success. For the consultancy you will be matched with a member who has particular expertise in the issues that are relevant for you and your site. They may have gone through the same processes as you and as such have developed useful learning that they can share.




On 13th September, Paul Southall – one of the Environmental Practices Advisor for the National Trust – visited Kew Gardens to conduct a peer consultancy of the site with their Energy Manager. Paul’s experiences were particularly relevant in this case as the National Trust owns a number of large gardens in Wales, including Bodnant and Dyffryn. Earlier in the year Kew attended a sustainable gardens event hosted by Paul at Dyffryn; the event was aimed at supporting members who were looking to control energy use in their conservatories. There were some very close parallels to the situation facing Kew and from the event came the suggestion of a peer review.

Some of the challenges Kew wanted Paul to look at included:

Kew 1_cropped

  • Maintaining constant temperatures in the greenhouses, even on sweltering days (like today) or freezing nights during the winter
  • Irrigating plants throughout the year
  • Managing energy intensive out-houses where plants are stored
  • Making best use of waste products and considering circular economy
  • Considering future energy needs and whether the current systems are fit for purpose going forward


Paul was able to offer advice and connections, and one of the outcomes of the consultancy is a potential working partnership between Kew and the National Trust going forward.

For more information on having a peer review of your site, please get in touch.