ScotRail has been recognised for its commitment to improving the environment with two prestigious Green Apple Awards.
The train operator was awarded a Scottish Gold Green Apple and a National Green Champion (Champion of Champions) prize in the ceremony, delayed from 2020 by coronavirus.
The awards were established in 1994 by The Green Organisation to reward and promote environmental best practice around the world.
The Gold Green Apple was in recognition of ScotRail’s work in Biodiversity. The Green Organisation’s Champion of Champions award acknowledged how the train operator protects habitats and supports the work of charities whilst providing valuable materials for habitat creation.
Through its Biodiversity Fund, ScotRail has offered learning and development opportunities to school children, the long term unemployed and vulnerable individuals, particularly in deprived areas.
The biodiversity enhancement programme has:
- Invested £40,000 annually supporting Scottish organisations and charities.
- Engaged with and upskilled 188 volunteers and dedicated 752 volunteer hours on ScotRail biodiversity projects.
- Engaged with schools in deprived areas to promote biodiversity learning and provided travel facilities to 328 school children and 191 adults.
- Provided financial support to Sunnyside Primary in Glasgow’s Craigend, helping them deliver their award winning #NaeStrawAtAw campaign, to reduce single use plastics.
- Supported biodiversity improvement projects at four depots and 32 stations, covering the length and breadth of the country.
- Funded peat bog restoration at Forsinard Flows in Caithness, one of the largest raised bogs in Europe and an important carbon sink.
ScotRail works closely with a number of partner organisations to help achieve its biodiversity targets, including the RSPB and The Conservation Volunteers group (TCV).
TCV provides volunteer work parties to carry out biodiversity improvements on site and their teams visited four ScotRail depots, helping create wildflower spaces, orchards and ponds. Incredibly, the change to land management at Yoker depot has led to field voles inhabiting one of the embankments.
At the RSPB reserve at Achanalt Marshes in Ross and Cromarty, a new method of improving habitat for breeding birds was trialled. Habitat improvement at the RSPB reserve Black Devon Wetlands in Clackmannanshire, an important area for overwintering wildfowl, was also supported through the fund.
Station adopters carry out gardening activities at ScotRail stations, maintaining planters and green spaces. At Perth Station an area of derelict land has been developed into an award-winning biodiversity garden. The space now has two ponds, an orchard, wildflower meadow and vegetable beds. Nest boxes and bug hotels have been included. The garden is well used by staff during breaks and to hold meetings in a relaxed environment.
Nicole Tyson, ScotRail Sustainability Manager, said:
“We are delighted to receive this recognition of the important work we are doing to support biodiversity improvement throughout Scotland.
“The project has grown from a few stations, to many of our depots and projects outside of our own portfolio.
“We will continue to develop current projects and the example of partnership working at Perth Station Garden will be followed to encourage staff and community engagement at other locations.”
Left to right in picture: Muhammad Sarvar (Sustainability Performance Manager), Nicole Tyson (Sustainability Manager), Damian Keaveny (Head of Environment), David Park (Energy and Utilities Manager)