Environmental Sustainability

Working to address biodiversity loss and climate change are part of our commitment to the future. Yendle Barwise, Environment & Sustainability Manager at West Horsley Place explains our approach and some of the techniques. 

A deer laying in grass

Addressing the twin crises of biodiversity and climate

As we shared in an article from December last year, we recognise the intertwined biodiversity and climate crises, and we have set appropriately ambitious environmental targets for West Horsley Place. However, the way in which we intend to reach our organisational ambitions, including our commitment to be net zero by 2030, has evolved in the intervening year or so.

Our work towards sustainability and addressing global environmental emergencies (in particular, biodiversity loss and climate change) can be very roughly divided into two key areas of action: (i) adaptive land management planning; and (ii) our environmental management strategy.

Adaptive land management planning is a continuous and repeated decision-making process for effective land management. It involves the formulation of management objectives, actions to address these objectives, monitoring of results, and repeated adaptation of management until the desired results are achieved on the ground. One example of this process in action is our ongoing work to support biodiversity.

orchid in grass

Surveying the estate's habitats

We have had many different surveys (including plant surveys, fungi surveys and bat surveys) over recent years, which will help us to identify species or habitats to focus on. We will then create and undertake a plan of work to promote, protect, or support our chosen species or habitats. Ongoing monitoring, including more surveys over the coming years, will let us know whether we are on the right track or if we need to change our conservation approach.

The Roadmap to Net Zero

Our environmental management strategy mainly concerns our operations and the impact of our organisation on climate change. It is our means of measuring and controlling the carbon emissions of every aspect of our day-to-day work, from weddings and public events to office use and building management. This strategy is the basis of our roadmap to reach net zero by 2030, when the amount of greenhouse gases that we produce will be no more than the amount that is taken away and stored (e.g., by our woodlands).

steps to environmental management

STEM Certification

By estimating our current (baseline) emissions and committing to an environmental policy, our strategy has already achieved ‘Blue’ certification by the Steps to Environmental Management Scheme, which is an independent benchmarking service offered by local councils. Our continuing work to address the unique energy and heating challenges posed by our charismatic, but very leaky, Grade 1 listed manor house will be shared with you in another news update.

hedge whips on grassSustainability for the future

Natural resource management at West Horsley Place is both a privilege and a responsibility. Reducing and offsetting our emissions will be an inevitable bonus, but our focus is on creating a physical and social environment in which learning, development, heritage, culture, and nature conservation can all thrive. This will support our long-term environmental and economic sustainability, which is central to the Trust’s vision. Achieving net zero by 2030 is therefore a necessary marker of progress, or a waypoint, rather than an endpoint. We look forward to seeing how our beautiful estate changes over the course of this journey, and we will continue to share our exciting progress.