Red Kite Tours and Sustainability
I believe that it is essential that wildlife tour companies endevour to minimise their impact on the planet and maximise their benefit to the wildlife they are taking clients to see. To this end I offer predominately walking tours close to where clients are staying, this provides high quality wildlife experiences, whilst minimising my businesses carbon footprint. Once you get to know what is on your doorstep it is easy to watch it at your leisure.
Positive Impact on Biodiversity
I am a member of several conservation organisations and I undertake voluntary work as a member of the committees of the Scottish Biodiversity Information Forum (SBIF), British Dragonfly Society (Scottish Committee) and Biological Recording in Scotland (BRISC).
I also undertake voluntary work on behalf of the BDS leading field trips. I have done this since 2003 running 1 to 3 weekend events a year. In 2010 I produced a leaflet entitled “A Guide to the Dragonflies of the Small Isles”.
I undertake WeBS surveys for the BTO. I submit my biological records to the relevant schemes or societies or the Highland Biological Recording Group.
Low Use of Paper and Consumables.
I seek to minimise my paper use, keeping the bulk of correspondence via email. Likewise I only print out documents when necessary and try to view as much as possible on-line.
Use of Recycled and Reusable Products
I purchase 100% recycled paper and buy products that last a long time.
Minimise Waste and Use Easily Recyclable Products.
All correspondence is sent in re-used envelopes with a new address label attached. Scrap, printed, single-sided paper will be used for notes and scribbles. All my office waste is re-used and then recycled, if possible. I compost all food waste from my office.
Low Energy Use.
My house/ office has low emmissivity double glazing, 40cm of loft insulation, 17cm underfloor insulation and low energy light bulbs. My annual electricity bill is around £180 a year, this is below average in terms of energy consumption. My house has been graded band-B on its Energy Performance Certificate. When I require to replace electrical equipment I look for the most energy efficient device available. I bought a new radio for the office and it has a solar panel that recharges its internal battery. From March to November it gets enough sunshine not to need mains charging.
Promote Renewable Energy Use.
My electricity is supplied by Scottish Hydro-Electric so it is from a 100% renewable source. In August 2011 I had a solar thermal system fitted to my house and have been enjoying some free hot water. The system provided 50% of my annual hot water needs. The system provides all my hot water on sunny days from March to October when the sun is higher in the sky. If you would like to know how it is working do get in touch. In 2015 I added an Immersun unit that diverts unused PV-produced electricty to my immersion heater. These two systems give me nearly 100% of my hot water between March and October and 65% annually.
In June 2012 I had a 3.3kW Solar PV system fitted to the roof of my house. This produces around 2400kW a year. It has reduced my electricity demand from the grid by a third compared to 2010. In the future I plan to get a battery storage system to reduce my grid demand further.
My house/ office currently has oil-fired central heating. The new, double glazed low emmissivity windows, extra loft insulation, underfloor insulation and fully lagged pipes have reduced my oil consumption by at least 40%: 900 litres lasts 22 months instead of the 12 months when I first moved in.
I plan to fit a woodburning stove in the future to further reduce my oil usage.
I own a fuel efficient car and intend to keep it for a long period to minimise my use of scarce natural resources. The car was second hand, so was re-used, and should last at another 4 years. My average fuel consumption has decreased from 45mpg, in my former car, to 53mpg in my current car. Wherever possible and appropriate I travel by train or bus or bike.
When taking tours I try to minimise the distance travelled to use as little fuel as possible and maximise the walking.
I seek to provide an excellent service to my clients. I always formally ask for feedback to ensure that I maintain my very high standards.
To ensure my clients safety and wellbeing I have a full risk assessment of guiding available on request and I am a qualified First Aider with full insurance to guide clients all over the UK.