Environmental Impact

Behind every seed sown and flower blooming within The Alnwick Garden, there exists an intricate eco-system that we continuously strive to protect and preserve. We host a total of 67 acres of land that not only provides a spectacle of horticulture, but also a generative garden and multiple event spaces. Operating as one the largest contemporary gardens in the UK, everything from our cultivation methods to the food we serve has been environmentally assessed to ensure that we are working with an eco-conscious approach.

A healthy environment is vital to our work and enables us to do what we do best. This means we are constantly searching for new and inventive ways to shrink our carbon footprint and pledge to continue our journey of effective sustainability. Below are just some of the ways in which we take an active role in conservation so that our garden can continue to thrive for years to come.

Environmental Policy

A registered charity, The Alnwick Garden is one of the most popular gardens in Europe and top visitor attractions in the north east. It is renowned as a garden of boldness and innovation. Unique as a ‘people’s garden’, it was built for the greater community.

The Vision and Mission of The Garden is ‘The Alnwick Garden cultivates communities and raises aspirations in a place of beauty. Fearlessly inspiring and connecting people in an inclusive garden environment that creates learning opportunities and enriches lives.’

In seeking to achieve this, The Alnwick Garden believes that its operation should be undertaken with minimal impact on both the local and global environment.  Environmental considerations will therefore be integral to The Garden’s corporate strategy and operational plans.

Based on the above, The Garden commits itself to the following:

1. The Garden will comply with all relevant environmental legislation and associated regulations.

2. The Garden will set environmental objectives and performance targets and strive to achieve them. The objectives and targets will be in the following areas:
a. Procurement – to ensure products and services utilised by The Garden are environmentally sustainable.
b. Visitor Education – to ensure effective communication of The Garden’s commitment to the environment.
c. Waste Management – to reduce the amount of waste produced and increase recycling initiatives.
d. Pollution Control – specifically reducing emissions and discharges to air, water and land.
e. Energy Management – to meet or exceed Governmental targets for the reduction of energy used.
f. Water Management – to ensure the efficient use of water.

3. The Garden will continually assess its operations to determine how it interacts with the environment. Actions will be taken whenever possible to ensure that the environment is protected.

The Alnwick Garden – Environmental Policy – June 2018 2


This policy will be reviewed by the Management Committee every 12 months at a minimum, or sooner if warranted by internal or external events or changes. Changes to the Policy will be recommended by the Director to the Board of Trustees.

Approved by the Board of Trustees: June 2018

Carbon Sequestration Project – 2022

You can access the full report by clicking here – the main headlines to take away are:

The Alnwick Garden covers 53.12 acres in total

60.4% of this area is covered with semi mature to mature trees

The trees we currently have absorb 172.26 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually

This leaves us just under 405 tonnes per year that needs eliminating

To get this data required 6500 samples to be analysed from across the site.

Carbon Footprint Benchmarking Overview – 2022

You can access the full report by clicking here.

With the current climate emergency across the globe The Alnwick Garden have made the commitment to reducing its impact on the environment by reviewing all areas of the business and to put into place policies, procedures and actions that will initially reduce our effect on climate change by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions (primarily CO2 and their atmospheric equivalents) but then with a targeted goal of generating zero emissions, moving forward to be a carbon sink and then ultimately to teach others about the journey we have travelled and to help, assist and support other establishments to do the same.

Our food and beverage sustainability policy

• Installation of electric charge points as the new development proceeds.

• Food and beverage strategy to focus on local produce. This is to reduce our Carbon footprint by reducing carbon emissions related to food transport.

• Our Garden team use many traditional gardening methods that are more environmentally friendly than modern day materials and chemicals.

• Our facilities manager has worked hard on lowering our use of electricity and gas over the last two years. Low emission bulbs and water efficiency of the cascade and water features have been a key focus area. New and more efficient heating equipment has also been installed.

• The Garden sends all general waste to a recycling plant.

• The garden team compost all their vegetative waste to produce a rich compost within twelve weeks which is returned to the garden in the form of top dressings or mulches which prevent water loss and suppress weed growth. We also make leaf mould by stacking all the fallen leaves in the autumn and once rotted down we use this material as a top dressing around ericaceous plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons etc.

• We also buy in a product called Strulch which is a mulch of mineralised straw. We mulch plants that are prone to slug damage with Strulch such as Hostas and Delphiniums which alleviates the need to put down slug pellets.

• We are fortunate to have, and also encourage wildlife to the garden with nest boxes, insect hotels and habitat piles. With such a good eco system we do not have to spray for greenfly, blackfly and caterpillar, and tend not to use chemicals within The Garden.

• We use seaweed based plant food on our ornamentals and crops.

• Coppiced birch or hazel is used to support herbaceous plant material rather than plastic or metal frames. At the end of the season this material is shredded along with the herbaceous vegetation and composted down.

• We collect rain water via guttering around our polytunnels in a large water tank the contents of which we use to water the tunnels. Water is also collected from The Pavilion roof to be used as grey water for the flushing of toilets on site.