Sustainability and Grounds team

What we do

2017 saw the official creation of our Sustainability team who are committed to improving the University’s environmental performance, bringing together existing work on carbon reduction, student and staff engagement, travel and transport and grounds. 

The University is currently committing close to £1 million per year into Sustainability staffing, initiatives and projects, from annual operational budgets to long-term investments.

We have committed to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2035.

On 1 October 2019, our electricity contract switched to a provider which produces 100% certified carbon neutral energy. This covers all three of our campuses and supports our efforts to continually reduce our carbon emissions. We currently generate approximately 2.5% of our electricity from solar panels, with projects under way to install more.

We also work closely with the Climate and Ecological Emergency Advisory Group as we navigate our ambitions in line with our declaration of a Climate and Ecological Emergency.

Grounds team

The Grounds team maintains Wivenhoe Park, home to our Colchester Campus, along with our Loughton and Southend Campuses. The Grounds team aims to provide an attractive, clean and interesting setting with a sound, conservation-minded attitude to campus flora and fauna at the University. Maintenance is carried out to an agreed specification appropriate to the listed status of both the Colchester and Loughton Campuses.

Spring and Summer

Spring marks the start of the grass cutting season. The team work on planting beds for growth and checking the sports pitches for renovations. Moreover, the team check if any of the nesting bird boxes or hedgehog boxes need replacing or repairing.

Autumn and Winter

The team will be preparing the formal bedding for winter and they will perform the annual cut of long and meadow grassed areas. Additionally, the team make sure that the snow and ice machinery is working and everything is ready for the change in seasons.

Sustainability team

The University's Sustainability team looks after environmental performance at the University of Essex.  We cover carbon management, energy, waste, water, sustainable procurement, transport and biodiversity. Our key target is to reduce CO2 emissions to net zero by 2035.

Activities and events

The team organises a range of events throughout the year across our Colchester and Southend campuses that focus on environmental issues, from reducing our carbon emissions to exploring the grounds and biodiversity at our campuses. These events include:

  • Environment Week
  • the Sustainable Essex awards
  • a weekly Dr Bike service in term time
  • pop-up stalls during term time
  • online discussions and talks on sustainability topics

Education for sustainable development

The University offers a wide range of taught modules with environmental content and undertakes an annual curriculum audit to review and report on the progress of integration of education for sustainable development into the curriculum.

Policies, strategies and reports

The team take environmental and social responsibility seriously at Essex and have a selection of policies, strategies and reports which indicate the commitments we have made and our goals for the future.

Travel and Transport team

We are committed to reducing the negative impact the University has on the local environment such as air quality, local congestion and to reduce the number of cars accessing the University. The University provides facilities and offers measures which promote healthy active travel to campus such as walking, cycling and the use of public transport to encourage a shift from private car use. These include:

The University’s Travel Plan supports the Sustainability (.pdf) and Healthy University Sub-Strategies.

Sustainable transport 

• Publicising walking and cycling routes to, from and around campus

• Providing lockers for cyclists, walkers, runners and motorbike riders

• Arranging for Dr Bike to visit campus fortnightly providing free bicycle servicing

• Negotiating discounts on bus and train tickets for University staff and students

• Encouraging University members to car share

• Providing charging points for electric vehicles in the car parks




UoE Sustainability on social media:

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Contact us
Grounds  Mick Minshull
Grounds Manager
Transport and Travel Iain Farquharson 
Travel and Transport Manager
Sustainability Engagement Michel Mason
Sustainability Engagement Manager