Priory Country Park

Local Gov't • Bedford

Demonstrating a range of energy and water-saving methods which could be applied to the average home.

  • Priory Country Park's visitor centre with solar panels on roof
  • Priory Country Park
  • Rainwater harvesting to save water via a 660 litre slim-line tank

Bedford Borough Council's story

Priory Country Park Visitor Centre made a number of highly visible improvements to reduce its energy and water consumption, carbon emissions, and utility bills. Visitors were able to see the technology in action and learn more about it through accompanying information boards. The initiative helped to raise awareness and understanding of eco-technologies, including: low-energy lighting; triple-glazed windows and doors; loft insulation; cavity wall insulation; natural daylight system; solar photovoltaic system (PV); rainwater harvesting system to flush public toilets.

Priory Country Park is open seven days a week and is a significant local attraction that welcomes a huge number of visitors throughout the year. The visitor's centre is next to the main car park and receives a similarly high level of footfall. The location was, therefore, perfect for a demonstrator project and enabled us to show the public some of the ways in which we can be greener both as a council and as individuals in our own homes.

The project was made possible through funding from the Bedford and Marston Vale Growth Area Fund which supports the delivery of infrastructure in identified growth areas. The Mayor's Climate Change Fund also provided 50% match-funding for the solar photovoltaic system, low-energy lighting, and loft insulation.

We got a lot of engagement from the public during the lifetime of the project, and it was a great initiative for Priory Country Park to get behind as a Green Flag park. Bedford Borough Council has an ambitious target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030, and it's important that we not only make changes across our estate but that we also inspire and educate the wider community on the benefits of sustainable living.

Useful learnings from Bedford Borough Council

Be leaders in carbon reduction and sustainability – Bedford was ahead of the curve in carbon reduction and sustainability projects, starting to undertake meaningful changes between 2010 and 2014. It's important that local authorities take a positive and proactive approach to demonstrate to residents what is possible.

Bedford Borough Council's metrics

How many people visit the Visitor Centre, look at the webpage, send emails for further information, and/or click on the links with information on energy improvements.

Feeling inspired? Discover more about this story...



Response to climate crisis





Local Gov't, 250 to 10,000 people

Shared by

Greater South East Net Zero Hub

Updated Feb, 2024

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