The award – which was part of BSIF’s Safety and Health Excellence Awards – recognises the efforts made by an organisation to protect the environment and ensure water pollution risks are managed efficiently and effectively.
The University’s Environmental Manager Nik Hunt is a pivotal staff member that plays a significant part as to why the institution has been recognised for its efforts in this area. He regularly provides internal training but has also facilitated workshops at the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges Annual Conference, and is known as the ‘go to’ person in the sector for advice on the prevention of water pollution.
Institutionally, Nik and other colleagues have written guidance and procedures for areas such as the management of chemicals, the movement of liquids on campus, and the storage of waste oil and fuel. Nik has delivered workshops to hundreds of staff members across both the Loughborough and London campuses alongside the University’s Health and Safety team.
Drain markers blazoned with the label ‘Only rain down this drain’ have also been adopted by the University, aiming to educate staff and students, alongside providing contact information for guidance should polluted materials or resources enter the drains. All of these initiatives have helped to protect our East Midlands campus which has more than 600 acres and features ancient woodlands, a large range of biodiversity, as well as lakes and brooks which feed into the River Trent nearby.
These efforts mean the team has supported the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), 14 (Life below Water) and 15 (Life on Land), which is an integral part of their work after signing the Sustainable Development Goals Accord in 2019.
Of the win, Nik commented: “I’m delighted we’ve been crowned the winner of the inaugural BSIF Water Pollution Prevention Award. Our campus is used by over 20,000 staff, students and tenant partners and has a diverse range of operations and activities. Communicating the risks to the environment of water pollution is an ongoing task and this award reflects the hard work, commitment and training we have put into preventing pollution from the large site the University occupies to the water courses on and around the campus and our biodiverse environment.”
Sustainability Manager Jo Shields added: “It is a great accolade to receive this award when pollution prevention can often go unnoticed as a workstream until an incident occurs. It is so important that we protect our environment and watercourses and this award shows just how seriously Loughborough takes this element of managing its environmental risk.”