Being the health conscious type (healthy body, healthy planet, healthy mind) I am a regular at the local leisure centre which has a swimming pool and half-decent gym. About six months ago whilst waiting for a friend to arrive so we could train together (don’t they say 30% perspiration, 70% motivation), I was reading the Centre’s mission statements (I had been waiting a while). There I found the following declaration:
DECLARATION OF COMMITMENT
As an integrated part of its environmental management policy (EMS) Bromley Mytime is committed to responsible energy management and will seek to utilise energy efficiently throughout all its premises, processes, plant and equipment. Using guidelines set out under ISO 14001 this policy seeks to:
· Understand the issues facing the business
· Provide a policy to address the issues concerned
· Implement the Policy through the development of an Action Plan
· Identify measures to regularly audit and review the policy
(a phone camera image – of poor quality, it was taken covertly! – can be seen above)
Bromley Mytime is a charitable trust created to manage leisure services on behalf of the London Borough of Bromley – in other words it is hived off council facilities – so you would expect there to be a degree of transparency in its activities. I had been studying the implementation of EMS and it seemed like a good opportunity to see the process in action. I waited a few months to see if there were any discernable change like recycling bins, low energy lighting etc – there was none, so I asked at reception how the EMS outlined on the notice board was progressing and was met with blank looks (part of the process is staff involvement and education so that bit wasn’t happening either!). Eventually I got to speak with management and was asked to put a request in writing – so I did. The following week I was informed the manager concerned with implementing EMS was on holiday and would respond on his return, he was then in the process of changing job rolls, on a training course, too busy, on the phone, in a meeting – get the picture? After two months I was eventually told someone else was now dealing with EMS and I would need to write again – so I did. Further enquiries found this new contact was too busy, in a meeting, on the phone, on a training course bla bla bla, and finally – unable to help due to confidentiality issues!
I finally managed to corner the original guy who revealed that there was in fact no EMS, there was no timetable for one to be implemented and they didn’t have the staff in-house to develop or manage one. I explained my interest once again, and asked to be kept informed, and to have access to process when it went ahead, he indicated this would probably be OK and he would ask his manager then email me, it’s been three weeks and I am still awaiting a response. Meanwhile the Declaration of Commitment remains reassuringly on the board.
Bromley prides itself in being the “Green Borough”, and is the location of Darwin’s house – restored in all its whitewashed glory, where “Origin of Species” was written and has been proposed for World Heritage status. What a shame that those who manage its public facilities are engaged in “greenwashing” their commitment to the environment that Darwin did so much to reveal to us all.
Darwin’s house: www.english-heritage.org.uk/server/show/nav.14922
Bromley Mytime: www.bromleymytime.org.uk