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Hylands Estate awarded Gold Green Tourism Accreditation

Hylands Park Credit Aaron Crowe (7)
The front of Hylands House. Image by Aaron Crowe.

Hylands Estate in Chelmsford has been awarded Gold status in the Green Tourism and Green Meetings accreditation programme. Gold status was given for the estate’s outstanding eco-friendly approach to community events, commercial hires, and management of Hylands House, The Stables, and Hylands Park.

Promoting sustainable tourism across the globe

Green Tourism promotes greener ways for businesses to operate. They support visitor attractions all over the world by providing advice on environmentally friendly choices, from energy consumption and water usage to biodiversity and seasonal produce.

Their Green Tourism and Green Meetings awards certification programme recognises businesses across the UK, and as far as Canada and Fiji, that are actively working to become more sustainable.

GT Generic Gold

Accreditation from Green Tourism helps visitors to easily understand which businesses and attractions are progressing on a green journey and adopting environmentally responsible and ethical practices.

Hylands’ environmentally conscious efforts praised by Green Tourism

Hylands Estate joins other prestigious visitor attractions such as Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, the Dominion Theatre in London, and the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh in achieving Gold status.

The award recognises Hylands’ commitment to protecting the biodiversity and heritage of the estate for future generations, by holding environmental sustainability at the forefront of their business model.

On awarding Gold status, Green Tourism said of Hylands Estate’s sustainability efforts:

“Hylands Estate have done an excellent job of achieving a Gold Green Meetings/Tourism Award. They have a good sustainability section on their website which explains their efforts to be a more sustainable business to their guests and encourages them to participate. Their genuine pleasure in running and promoting a sustainable business in the area where they operate is evident throughout the assessment. I have no doubt that if they continue with the actions and pipeline projects that they mentioned in the assessment they will continue to improve their scoring.”

Euan Haggart, Environment and Sustainability Assessor, Green Tourism

Supporting the estate’s biodiversity

Hylands Park is an outstanding nature site made up of varied habitats including ancient woodlands, grassland, and water bodies. The park is rich with wildlife, from Fallow Deer to the rare Golden Hoverfly. In recent decades 59 species of national conservation significance have been recorded at the estate.

Chelmsford City Council’s parks team works hard year-round to protect and enhance this biodiversity as a core part of its five-year management programme for Hylands Park. Initiatives to increase biodiversity in the park include regular tree-planting, coppicing ancient woodland to encourage new growth, and careful management of grass cutting to ensure wildlife, particularly pollinating insects, have space to thrive.

Hylands Park Credit Aaron Crowe (39)
Canada Geese are one of many species of animals found at Hylands Park. Image by Aaron Crowe.

Reducing energy and water consumption

Although it’s a challenge to achieve net-zero carbon emissions at Hylands due to the age and heritage status of the Grade II* listed park and house, the Green Tourism accreditation process recognised the estate team’s efforts to regularly monitor energy and water usage and take actions to reduce consumption wherever possible. These include installing LED lighting across the house and Grand Pavilion, ensuring the estate’s oil-fired boilers are energy efficient and well-maintained, and installing water reduction systems in the main house toilets.

Hylands Estate Mattchungphoto Hi Res (5)
The Grand Pavilion at Hylands Estate runs off of electricity only. Image by Matt Chung.

Working alongside environmentally conscious organisations

Working with environmentally responsible businesses is important to Hylands Estate, and all suppliers, operators and event organisers working with the estate are required to complete a sustainability screening process before being appointed. Hylands also encourages its visitors to be greener by highlighting low-carbon activities that can be enjoyed at the estate, such as geocaching, orienteering and the multimedia tour of the gardens.

Councillor Rose Moore, Cabinet Member for a Greener and Safer Chelmsford is proud of the Hylands House and parks teams for their dedication to making the estate as sustainable as possible:

“Chelmsford City Council declared a climate and ecological emergency in 2019. Since then, we’ve been working on reducing carbon emissions, energy consumption and waste across Chelmsford, as well as improving biodiversity and air quality, and Hylands Estate is an excellent example of the progress made in recent years.

“I’m really proud of the Hylands House team for constantly looking at ways to make meetings, weddings and events at the estate more sustainable, and of the parks team for their efforts in protecting the estate’s outstanding biodiversity. It’s everyone’s responsibility to make more sustainable choices and so I also thank the many people who visit Hylands each year and play their part in protecting the estate for future generations by responsibly disposing of their waste, supporting local suppliers, and taking part in low-carbon activities.”

Councillor Rose Moore, Cabinet Member for a Greener and Safer Chelmsford

Hylands House Manager, Lorraine Thorne, says the estate’s green journey doesn’t end with Gold accreditation:

“Aside from the beautifully managed parkland, visitors to Hylands Estate don’t always see a lot of the work that goes on behind the scenes to improve sustainability, particularly changes that might seem small but make a big difference. I’m therefore thrilled that Green Tourism have awarded us Gold accreditation, recognising the efforts that have gone into making the estate as green as it can be.

“It’s fantastic that environmentally conscious visitors to Chelmsford and Essex will now be able to easily identify Hylands’ green credentials and make a choice to support us on our green journey. And that journey certainly doesn’t end here – we’re determined to keep working hard to make Hylands Estate as sustainable as possible, with a particular focus on how we can implement environmentally responsible solutions to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.”

Lorraine Thorne, Hylands House Manager

Find out more about sustainability at Hylands Estate on their website.

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Cherelle Nightingill
Cherelle Nightingill

Cherelle writes about Chelmsford Theatre, Hylands Estate, Chelmsford Museum, the Mayor of Chelmsford and culture and events in the city.