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Lowbyer Manor Country House high up in the North Pennines has recently received a Gold Award in the Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS). Richard Elston, joint owner, said: “It is great to have our work over the past five years recognized by this national green standard for tourism. We’re really pleased with our Gold GTBS Award. It really reflects the type of stay that our visitors can expect at Lowbyer Manor – high quality and green!”
Lowbyer Manor Country House is a nine bedroomed Grade II listed Georgian Manor House in Alston at the heart of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Richard and Laura Elston arrived in Alston almost eight years ago and began running Lowbyer Manor Country House as an AA Four Star Guest House. At home they had always considered themselves to be concerned about environmental issues and wanted to make sure they ran their new business along similar green lines.
“We introduced Richard and Laura to the idea of joining the Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS) back in 2007,” said Shane Harris, Tourism and Communications Manager at the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership. “We’re absolutely delighted that they have used the framework that the
GTBS provides so successfully and have now been awarded Gold – no mean feat and a real achievement.”
The GTBS is a great framework for tourism businesses to make sure their operations have a positive impact on the local environment alongside offering a top quality experience for their customers.
“We became members of the GTBS in 2007 and achieved a Silver Award,” added Richard. “The North Pennines AONB Partnership offered us initial advice and support. They were also able to help with initial costs and a couple of years later awarded us a Small Grant through their Sustainable Development Fund to assist with the cost of insulating the roof of the main house, which to our surprise had never been done. This work has reduced our gas consumption by nearly 20%.”
Over the years Laura and Richard have incrementally improved the environmental performance of Lowbyer Manor Country House, including:
Replacing standard light bulbs with low energy versions, saving energy and reducing their electricity consumption reducing by over 30%. Installing a small recycling centre in the reception area, expanding the amount of recycling we do to include our visitors. This has proved to be very popular and many guests appreciate being able to recycle when they are on holiday as they do at home.
Laura and Richard have worked with a variety of organisations to help them green their tourism business. Recently they joined Nurture Eden and are looking forward to working with them to promote and protect the local wildlife, especially the native red squirrels who visit the guesthouse garden, regularly feeding from the squirrel boxes crafted by Richard.
Laura concludes: “Being green to us is all about the three R’s – Reducing, Reusing & Recycling. We have made a number of changes to the products we use running
the business, such as replacing the individually packaged toiletries in our en- suite bathrooms for a pump dispenser system, saving on packaging, they are more
attractive and also in the long run will be more cost effective, which is always important.”
Lowbyer Manor Country House is one of almost 30 tourism businesses in the North Pennines which have received Green Tourism Business Scheme awards in the North
Pennines – visit www.northpennines.org.uk/Pages/GreenBusinesses.aspx to find out where they are.