The Palace has been acknowledged as one of only 75 ‘Gold’ standard visitor attractions in Scotland and joins ten other attractions in Perthshire in achieving this elite award.
The Green Tourism Business Scheme is the national sustainable tourism certification scheme for the UK and acknowledges tourism businesses that are actively engaged in reducing the negative environmental and social impacts of their tourism operations.
Businesses opting to join the scheme are assessed every two years by a qualified grading advisor against a rigorous set of criteria, covering a range of areas including energy and water efficiency, waste minimisation and recycling, biodiversity, use of local produce, support of public transport and more.
Those businesses that meet the required standard receive a Bronze, Silver, or Gold award, based on their level of achievement.
Palace Administrator Elspeth Bruce said: “The Gold Award is testament to all the hard work that we have been undertaking here at Scone to ensure that as a visitor attraction we keep our environmental footprint to an absolute minimum.
“Over the last few months we’ve worked hard to improve our energy efficiency, installing loft insulation throughout the Palace and purchasing new Ewgeco monitors to track the energy we’re using. We’re currently also in the process of changing all our lights to LED’s.
“We have recycling boxes around the offices and in the kitchens, and actively encourage visitors to use the bins in our catering areas or to take their rubbish home. Our ultimate goal is therefore to become a zero waste work place.
“This sustainability ethos also extends throughout the Palace grounds, where we have undertaken extensive tree and wildlife planting in conjunction with partners such as the ICONic Tree project. Practical projects aimed at conserving our rich wildlife and habitat include building nest boxes around the grounds and mini beast bug hotels to create a safe environment for hibernating insects, and we are taking a leading role in the fight to preserve the habitat of one of Britain’s most endangered mammals, the red squirrel.
“A fantastic addition this year has been our new kitchen garden, established with the help of our team of gardening volunteers. While it’s still a ‘work in progress’, it has already developed into a highly productive area where we grow our own fruit and vegetables in poly tunnels and raised beds. Much of this produce, including salad leaves, tomatoes and herbs, is now being used in our own kitchens, meaning that visitors are able to enjoy the freshest possible seasonal produce.
“Visitors are welcome to wander through the garden, and the hope is that in due course we can grow sufficient to be able to sell excess produce to the public. In the meantime, if there are any green-fingered members of the public out there who would like to join our team of volunteer gardeners, we’d love to hear from them!”
Commenting on Scone’s assessment, GTBS grading advisor Wendy Fail said: “The team clearly display great enthusiasm and dedication to ensuring that the Palace can become as sustainable as possible, despite the challenges the building, and its historic significance, present in terms of energy saving.
“The site also benefits from an excellent array of home-produced and local food supplies, as well as an extensive range of local craft products in the shop”.