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JULY 2006


UK youth hostels win top award

London— The hostels, at Lockton in North Yorkshire and Langdon Beck in the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, have been awarded the European Ecolabel by Defra, which runs the green scheme in the UK.

The Ecolabel is a top level European Commission award scheme. Its flower logo can be used on a range of consumer goods across Europe, as well as tourist accommodation and campsites - as long as they meet the strict environmental criteria.

To win the award, both hostels had to show that they met the highest modern standards in every aspect of their impacts on the environment - from efficient use of energy and water through to staff training about green issues.

The green initiative is part of the YHA’s program of renovation to provide modern facilities and environmentally responsible accommodation. The Association plans to make more applications for the Ecolabel over the next two years.

Among the changes introduced at Langdon Beck are:

  • 50 percent cut in total energy consumption.
  • 75 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions.
  • 50 percent of all waste is being recycled.

Langdon Beck has led the way in developing renewable energy systems for hostels. European LEADER+ funding, which is administered by Defra, helped the YHA to install two solar hot water systems and a 2.5 kilowatt wind turbine. They have also installed a rain harvesting system to provide water for the toilets at the hostel.

Funding from Defra’s Rural Enterprise Scheme helped Lockton to build in unique environmentally responsible features to help minimize the environmental impact of tourists.

The environmental benefits at Lockton include:

  • 30 percent reduction in water consumption.
  • 40 percent fall in carbon dioxide emissions.

Other features include showers heated by solar panels on the hostel roof and a system which harvests rainwater. The building is insulated using sheep’s wool and a living sedum roof, whose foliage will provide a habitat for local wildlife as well as adding extra insulation.

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