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Environmental Statement

We have been looking at and improving the way we work and use our buildings and machinery and the way we plan.

At the Mill, our focus is naturally on running a successful living weaving museum and providing visitors with an enjoyable, interesting and informative experience. We also think more widely about our effect on the environment and our duties as a responsible business.

Our Environment Policy guides our efforts.

Our Buildings

The operations within our buildings are vital factors in efforts to reduce our emissions, and we:

  • have changed from oil-fuelled heating to modern gas boilers that heat both buildings
  • turned down thermostats and turn off heating when it isn’t needed, and we close windows and doors to keep heat in
  • use LED lights throughout, some with motion sensors to reduce energy consumption
  • switch off lights, heating and other electrical equipment when not in use
  • don’t leave taps running
  • monitor energy use and look for savings
  • continue to explore the opportunities for micro-generation from waterpower and alternative heating methods.

Biodiversity

The River Test is a chalk stream, and its banks are a Site of Special Scientific Interest. There are about 200 chalk streams globally, 85% of which are in the UK; they are known for their biodiversity and are vulnerable to climate change. We support biodiversity by:

  • managing the river by regulating water levels through traditional sluice gates known locally as ‘hatches’
  • cutting the river weed according to a schedule delegated by the Environment Agency to the Test and Itchen Association
  • maintaining a thriving garden with plenty of flowers perfect for pollinators and providing better habitats for wildlife
  • using 100% organic products in the garden and ensuring all new landscaping is planted with native species.

 

Procurement and Working Practices

We make conscious purchasing decisions and carefully consider our methods of working by:

  • choosing suppliers with sound environmental policies and buying from small businesses, and locally where possible, to keep money in the local economy and reduce delivery miles. Our café is a member of Hampshire Fare, which promotes local produce
  • aiming to work with brands and suppliers that act on plastic packaging
  • moving towards paperless systems wherever possible and reducing the amount of print produced to promote the Mill
  • using online marketing opportunities and printing leaflets, flyers and posters with matt rather than gloss lamination, so they are recyclable
  • using chalkboards instead of printing temporary signage for events
  • using paper to create our exhibition panels and recycling it after the exhibition.

 

Waste & Recycling

We take the following steps to avoid waste:

  • In the café we serve cold drinks in cans and glass bottles and are moving towards just cans.
  • Our takeaway packaging is fully compostable.
  • We employ Wiggly Wigglers worms to transform food scraps into vermicompost on site.
  • Our team works closely with our waste disposal company to recycle mixed recycling from the office, shop and café.

We know that we still produce too much waste. We are striving to reduce this and as part of our efforts, we take part in the Big Plastic Count, which we’ll continue to do year on year.

 

Programming and Special Events

We are always looking for ways to highlight sustainability in our work, including:

  • delivering, in our educational visits and resources, learning activities that build understanding of issues of environmental sustainability
  • ‘The Power of Water’ schools workshop, delivered in partnership with the Watercress and Winterbournes Project, highlights practical activities addressing water usage in the home and the geography of the River Test
  • celebrating biodiversity and supporting local wildlife charities such as Butterfly Conservation and the Bumblebee Preservation Trust at our ’Wild and Wonderful Day’.

 

Local Economy and Environment

Whitchurch is a small town in beautiful rural Hampshire. We aim to promote the town, walking in the area around the Mill, the local economy and the environment by:

  • promoting and supporting local businesses through our Local Attractions page
  • regularly collaborating with Whitchurch Conservation Group on projects, such as the provision of the Mill Trail, that promote the town economically and socially, and that help our visitors understand the value of our surrounding natural environment
  • providing bicycle racks to improve facilities for cyclists
  • providing a Refill Station offering water refills
  • discouraging the use of cars by promoting walking, cycling and public transport.


We pledge to continue to improve our environmentally sustainable practices and welcome ideas and suggestions.

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