Our environmental sustainability requirement

We expect the highest standards of environmental sustainability to be delivered by all the projects we fund.  

We want all our projects to do their very best to help mitigate against and adapt to the effects of our changing climate and to help nature recover. 

Whether our funding is conserving a nature reserve, a museum, a public park or a building, we will expect projects to take the opportunity to create positive benefits for nature. You could do this by creating roosts for bats, including green roofs, providing ponds for natural drainage and increasing tree planting, for example

We want all of our projects – of all types of heritage, large and small – to: 

  • limit any potential damage to the environment 
  • make a positive impact on the environment and particularly for nature 

Of course, projects must ensure that any environmental measures do not have a negative impact on your heritage. 

Including environmental sustainability within your project right from the beginning will mean your project is likely to be more resilient, financially sustainable and have multiple benefits for people and the community. 

The measures that you implement should be appropriate for the scale of your project. We provide guidance on environmental sustainability on our website.

You should also think about how you will evaluate your environmental sustainability measures and ensure that this is part of your project’s evaluation strategy. We will ask you to identify and report on the steps that you are taking. Our environmental sustainability guidance provides some general advice, and you can also access practical support from the Fit for the Future network.

Why is environmentally sustainable heritage so important?

We want all our projects to positively impact the environment, because biodiversity is rapidly declining and atmospheric carbon levels are increasing.

Things to consider

Building sustainably: low carbon and locally-sourced materials are best, with good energy management systems. Use digital project management and consider how the building adapts over time.

Energy innovation: consider using technology like anaerobic digestion, wind, geothermal or biomass boilers. Simply reducing energy use is effective too.

Waste management: reduce, recycle or re-use wherever possible. Commit to reducing plastic waste and sending zero waste to landfill. Check that suppliers and partners are doing the same.

Enhancing the environment: ensure there is ‘biodiversity net gain’. You can achieve this through:

  • native tree and hedge planting
  • creating meadows
  • reducing grass cutting
  • creating ponds and ditches for natural drainage
  • bug, bat and bird boxes
  • green walls and roofs

Future proofing: integration of climate resilience planning, flood prevention, coastal erosion, water management, temperature control and resilience to more freak weather events.

Cleaner transport and travel: encourage eco-friendly travel. You can achieve this by providing cycle or walking routes, electric car hook-ups and bike parks. Plan to offset carbon when using cars and trains is unavoidable.

Measure impacts: have an evidence-based carbon reduction and offsetting plan, with a designated person to deliver the target outcomes.

Green budget: investment in active environmental management can reduce future running costs, which includes big expenses, for materials and infrastructure, but also smaller costs, for habitat creation. Consider the potential long-term savings.

Each to their own: every site and every project will have different opportunities. Have all options been considered properly – big and small?

Some examples of the types of things we are looking for

For grants from £3,000 to £10,000:

  • tell people how to get to your site or events by public transport
  • use compostable/biodegradable plates and cutlery for event catering
  • use local suppliers
  • use recycled and/or environmentally friendly materials
  • recycle your waste
  • tell people about the environmental measures you have implemented

For grants from £10,000 up to £5million:

We expect applicants to consider what steps they can take to create positive environmental impacts and reduce negative environmental impacts through their project. Remember, the measures that you implement should be appropriate for the scale of your project.

Examples of increasing positive environmental impacts could include:

  • tell people how to get to your site or events by public transport
  • use compostable/biodegradable plates and cutlery for event catering
  • use local suppliers
  • use recycled and/or environmentally friendly materials
  • recycle your waste
  • tell people about the environmental measures you have implemented
  • increase biodiversity (green roofs, bat and bird boxes, insect holes, bee-friendly planting, etc)
  • use recycled materials and products, such as paper
  • think about locally sourcing products and materials and reducing ‘food miles’ in cafes
  • encourage sustainable travel (bus or train, walking and cycling, etc)
  • tell visitors how the organisation is adapting to climate change and environmental measures used on the site

Examples of reducing negative environmental impacts could include:

  • install more efficient heating, LED lighting and better control systems and/or use renewable energy or energy generated on site
  • reduce water use by recycling grey water, installing low flush toilets, etc
  • reduce your use of plastics, especially single use plastics
  • reduce waste produced on site and create an effective recycling policy

Remember, our expectation of the number of outputs your project delivers will be proportional to the size of the grant.

Further information

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