AN education centre run on the Essex/Suffolk border looks set for a greener future.

Flatford Mill, in East Bergholt, is the location of one of 20 countrywide centres operated by the Field Studies Council (FSC).

The leading environmental charity has pledged to manage heat loss at its sites by improving insulation and draft proofing where possible.

It will also look at implementing better temperature controls within centres.

The charity’s owned vehicle fleet will be reduced and replaced with more energy efficient leased vehicles and efforts will be made to increase the use of virtual meeting rooms to reduce the number of miles employees and trustees spend travelling.

And efforts will be centred on making catering at centres more sustainable by increasing the number of vegetarian-based meals and reducing the carbon footprint of meals, by sourcing more local and seasonal raw ingredients.

The pledges come as the UK Parliament has just announced it will be the first in the world to make a declaration of a ‘climate emergency’, which the charity welcomed.

The FSC said it hoped this would trigger a domino effect’ among individuals and businesses by encouraging them to actively change their behaviours and make more environmentally balanced decisions.

The FSC has also saved more than £568,000 on its own energy bills over the last eight years.

This has been achieved thanks to the introduction of a carbon management plan and investment in green technologies.

More than 50 per cent of all energy used by the organisation now comes from renewable sources such as solar and biomass and 100 per cent of grid energy supplies to FSC is from green generation.

Mark Bolland, the FSC’s leading expert on climate change, said its centres have been working on carbon reduction for almost 30 years.

"They were early adopters of new technologies and have also become pioneers when it comes to changing the behaviours and actions of visitors and staff.

“For years people at these centres have been encouraged to use refillable bottles rather than disposable plastic ones; water usage is strictly timed and our consumption of meat is monitored.”

He added: “FSC’s challenge in our 2011-20 vision was to reduce its carbon footprint per visitor by 40 per cent. This was a significant and ambitious target but with our continued efforts we are on track to reach this across all our centres, which is fantastic.”

Mark Castle, FSC chief executive, added: “The latest move by MPs to declare an ‘environment and climate emergency’ could not have come at a better time and we now want the Government to take action to transform the symbolic gesture into something legally binding.

“In the meantime, the declaration will hopefully trigger the domino effect required to start educating more individuals and businesses to think about what steps they can take on a daily basis to reduce the amount of energy they use.”