A Green Future at Nelson and Colne College

Nelson and Colne College is located in a spectacular part of Pennine Lancashire. We are lucky to be located in a semi-rural location which is surrounded by beautiful green spaces. Our location in this landscape has meant that we have become increasingly conscious of the importance of maintaining a ‘green’ philosophy and led to the development of Sustainability Group in College.

The Sustainability Group

We believe that it is vital to promote a “green” ethos among our students and staff. The College’s Sustainability Group has worked hard to raise awareness of the environmental issues we face, and the whole College has agreed challenging, but achievable goals to reduce our carbon footprint, now and in future years – targets which are already being exceeded. The Sustainability Group is chaired and managed by the Facilities Management team and consists of voluntary representatives from a variety of departments, including staff and students.

The Sustainability Group meets each term and their role is to:

  • Review progress against targets
  • Formulate new ideas for improvements and contribute to the action plan
  • Be ambassadors for sustainability at the College
  • Aid communication across all functions of the College

Projects and Improvements

The College has made significant steps forward with the energy action plan and a number of actions have been implemented to reduce the Carbon Footprint including:

  • The installation of a central timer to control the exterior lighting to ensure illumination corresponds with the hours of darkness and building opening hour
  • The re-arrangement of the teaching timetable to allow sections of the building to be closed down during non-core hours
  • Matching room occupancy levels with the physical size of room to prevent excessive use of lighting and heating
  • A reduction in the number of light fittings
  • Installation of low energy lighting in several areas
  • The installation of plug in timers on the vending machines
  • The installation of computer software to automatically shut down computers at the end of the day
  • Improved control of the air handling units
  • Promotion of a ‘switch off’ campaign
  • Removal of desktop printers
  • Duplex default printing settings
  • The adjustment to heating controls to ensure the building is not heated out of hours
  • Improved management and control of the building management system
  • Improved hot water controls
  • An investigation into gas consumption in the kitchen facilities
  • The installation of solar panels


  • We continually assess our provision to ensure the range of courses and delivery techniques meets the needs of a changing society, a developing business world and local community demographic.
  • We have an established GAP programme (Gateway for Progression) that offers training, education and experience to students who may otherwise be excluded from mainstream education.
  • Students are taught key skills, such as Maths and English, via practical learning opportunities such as managing the recycling facilities at the College, horticultural projects such as growing vegetables for the catering facilities and plants for the gardens at the College.
  • A joint initiative between the Sustainability Team and the Health and Wellbeing group to promote a ‘cycle to college’ scheme has resulted in the increased number of students and staff using a bicycle to travel to College.

Examples of recent student led initiatives:

  • ‘Switch off’ campaign
  • Promoting paper recycling
  • Reducing printing campaign
  • Healthy eating and wellbeing promotion
  • Better world books recycling
  • Fairtrade promotions