Ullswater Steamers, Ullswater - SME (Leisure / tourism)

Cruises on the Lake District’s beautiful Ullswater have become more environmentally friendly, after ENWORKS supported Ullswater Steamers with saving 148 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e).

The small business has been operating boats on the lake for over 150 years, from Pooley Bridge and Glenridding, and today it is part of Lake District Estates Ltd. It has a fleet of five vessels and has for a long time been committed to sustainable business practices.

Over the last few years, Ullswater Steamers has been supported by the Cumbria Business Environment Network (CBEN), with funding from the ENWORKS resource efficiency programme. It has used the advice to reduce its energy, water, material and residual waste costs and improve its environmental credentials and so far it has saved £33,700 as a result.
Completed projects
Ullswater Steamers rebuilt its Pooley Bridge pier in 2009 and refitted the Glenridding Pier House two years later. It used reclaimed steel, Forest Stewardship Counci (FSC) certified timbers, low-energy lighting systems and insulated glazing, to ensure that its costs and aesthetics were balanced against minimal environmental impacts.
As part of this work, CBEN recommended that the design incorporated slimline dual-flush cisterns for the toilets, and waterless urinals, to help reduce mains water consumption. This has saved £4,800 and 2,000 m3of water per year.
Energy efficient hand dryers were also included in the refurbishment plans for Glenridding, to replace wasteful paper towel use.
This brought annual savings of £700 on towels and half a tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) annually, and the initial cost of the dryers paid back in just a few months.
Other savings CBEN has helped with include a reduction of £2,000 on energy bills, thanks to a switch-off policy for electrical items such as lights and computers.
Water management has been improved through the use of dams and spray hoses, saving £1,000 a year, and paper consumption for marketing purposes has been reduced by relying more on online promotion, and this saved £970 on a single campaign a few years ago.
The fleet’s fuel efficiency has been tackled, saving £1,800 a year, and paper and cardboard are now routinely recycled, which has reduced waste collection and disposal costs by about £50 a year. In 2011, the company’s overall recycling rates rose by 35 per cent.
Separately, Ullswater Steamers has invested in charging points for electric bikes and cars, and it works in partnership with local public transport providers to make sure that its timetables fit in with their services, thus helping to reduce emissions from cars in the national park.
‘Minimising our impacts’
Rachel Bell of Lake District Estates, which owns Ullswater Steamers, said: “We know what we need to do to continue to improve so we’re working with the ENWORKS advisers at CBEN to access their expert help and technical support, to check our plans and make sure that we’re minimising our impacts on the local and the broader environment.”
New initiatives
Ullswater Steamers is still working on a number of CBEN’s recommendations, including a sustainable transport initiative that would link up local cycle hire facilities with a ‘Bike to Work’ scheme for staff.
It is also investigating the option of moving to an electricity supplier that uses more renewable energy, to further reduce its carbon footprint, and a range of other ideas for reducing fuel oil and electricity use and for improving monitoring of utilities consumption.

Case study published 2 May 2013.