British Holiday and Home Parks Association, David Bellamy Conservations Awards

British Holiday and Home Parks Association, David Bellamy Conservations Awards
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How the Scheme Works

How the Scheme Works

On this page you’ll find answers to the main questions parks ask about the award. Use the menu on the right to find the information you’re looking for.

To download full park briefing notes click here. For detailed informtion on how to make your park more environmentally friendly click here.

What awards do you give?

Parks are awarded either a Gold, Silver or Bronze Award based on their performance in the three main areas of environmental activity: ecological management, sustainability and good neighbourliness (details of the issues that are assessed are highlighted in the Resources section of this website).

We also ask our assessors to nominate parks for a 'Special Distinction Award'. These awards are for particularly innovative projects and initiatives that parks have put in place. They are designed to highlight new thinking and ideas that others can learn from. They are open to any parks (Gold, Silver or Bronze), although nominations will only be made following an assessment. Not all nominated parks will win. David Bellamy will make the final decision regarding the merits of each nomination. To get a feel for the type of projects that receive these awards click here and here.

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How are the awards judged?

If you take part, your park’s environmental performance will be judged on information from three main sources:

  • The information you supply us.
    You are asked to fill in a self-assessment form (this will be sent to you following receipt of your completed registration form). The form gives us a good overview of the environmental activities you have undertaken on your park. It also gives you the opportunity to let us know about any recent improvements or activities you have undertaken between assessments. We are also interested in receiving any environmental reports or summaries of your environmental work or any other information or photographs that you think will support your application.
  • An ‘in-the-field’ assessment completed by one of our Award Scheme assessors.
    Your park will be assessed on a wide range of aspects relating to its environmental performance. As already mentioned, these are grouped into three main areas:
    1) Ecological management (what you do to help wildlife).
    2) Sustainability (what you do to conserve resources and reduce waste).
    3) Good neighbourliness (what you do to support your local community and economy).
  • Any feedback we get from members of the public.
    Holidaymakers and park residents are encouraged to let us know what they think about parks involved in the award scheme. They can do this through the Award Scheme’s website. Please note, if any complaints are received, parks have the right of reply.

David Bellamy will use the information from these three sources to decide whether your park has reached Gold, Silver or Bronze standard (or whether more work is required in order to do so).

Please note: The natural environment has always been the main focus of the David Bellamy Awards, and your work on ecological management will be given the most importance in the judging decision making process.

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What are the assessors looking for?

In general your assessor will be looking for two main things:

  • Evidence that your park has acted to improve its performance (e.g. you are managing your grasslands to encourage wildflowers, or you’ve installed push-button taps to save water).
  • Evidence that these actions have resulted in improvements (e.g. there is an abundance of wildflowers in evidence; your energy efficiency has improved).

If your park has already been assessed, your assessor will also look at how well you have responded to the ideas and suggestions that were made in previous assessment reports.

Overall, assessors will be looking for evidence of your commitment to and enthusiasm for environmental improvement.

Our assessors will assess your park on what is in place at the time of the park visit. They are asked to make their decisions based on how well your park is performing within the context of its size and resources – in other words, on how well you are making use of the landscape, staff and financial resources at your disposal and on how well you overcome the specific challenges your park faces. If certain issues or actions are not applicable to your park (e.g. enhancing riverbank habitats where none exist), then you will, obviously, not be penalised for inaction.

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Who carries out the assessments?

The assessors are drawn from organisations such as the local wildlife trusts or from the countryside department of your local county council. They can also be freelance environmental consultants. All are local natural history experts committed to the conservation of the British countryside.

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What will happen during the assessment?

Your assessor will need to meet with a park representative of your choice (preferably a member of staff who is in charge of, or involved with, your park’s environmental management) to talk through various aspects of your park’s environmental work. He or she will then need to walk round the park with your representative. The assessor may also want to walk around the park by him or herself after their escorted tour.

The assessor’s tour should take in all the main areas of the park, should include a visit to all the main facility blocks, other public buildings and office areas. If you operate a letting fleet, the tour should also give the assessor a chance to look inside a number of representative holiday homes, (subject to availability) and to chat to staff involved in your environmental work. This is your opportunity to show off what you have done and achieved.

The most important thing is to ensure that you feel the assessor has seen everything they ‘should have’ (from environmental notice boards and energy-saving light bulbs to wildlife areas and compost heaps) and that you have not missed any opportunities to impress!

Please remember that your assessor is an invaluable source of information and is there to help you. They’ll be more than happy to advise you on how to improve your “green performance”, and should have useful local contacts that may be able to help you further.

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How should we prepare for the assessment?

Ensure a park representative is available to meet your assessor, answer his or her questions and conduct him or her on a tour of the park. Be sure that your representative is ready to answer questions about the three main areas of environmental activity (ecological management, sustainability and good neighbourliness). Please be prepared to set aside anywhere between two and three hours for the assessment visit.

One way to prepare would be to read through these briefing notes and use them to draw up a checklist of things you have done. If you have been assessed before remember to check on your past report, so that you can discuss how you responded to any recommendations it made. You should also draw together any relevant documents or reports such as environmental policies, species counts, accessibility statements, habitat management plans, etc. (Please have a copy of any relevant documents and reports available for the assessor to take away.)

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When do the assessments take place?

The assessments usually take place during June and July. You will be contacted earlier in the year to arrange a date and time to suit you.

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How often are parks assessed?

An initial assessment is carried out when a park enters the scheme. Parks that have achieved the Gold standard are then assessed every year. Current Bronze and Silver award parks are automatically assessed after three years of continuous participation, but an interim assessment may be requested at any time during this period. Many parks do this if they consider that the changes and initiatives they have implemented since their last assessment will improve their current award status (please note, that there is a charge for an interim assessment).

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What feedback is provided?

Each assessor submits a written report to David Bellamy. This will contain an overview of your park’s strengths and weaknesses and recommendations for how you can move forward and improve your performance. A copy of this report will be sent to you with your award notification.

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When are awards announced?

Results are announced to parks by early October at the latest.

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More information:

  • Click here for an in-depth article on how to improve your park's environmental performance and get it ready for an award.
  • Click here for an in-depth article on the award scheme and why it makes sense to join.
  • Click here for the latest park briefing notes.