College of West Anglia

At the College of West Anglia we are committed to reducing our carbon footprint and aim to set an example of responsible environmental management. We are building on the College’s first ambitious carbon reduction target of 30% by 2014/15, including investing in solar PV, an electric car and LED lighting.

The College of West Anglia has four campuses in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, offering courses ranging from GCSEs, apprenticeships, traineeships and A-Levels to degree level programmes. Our largest campus is based in King’s Lynn with a nearby sports campus, we also have a campus in Wisbech and a land based campus on the outskirts of Cambridge. The College has around 10,000 full and part-time students and 800 staff. 

Investing in buildings

The College has invested over £30 million to improve its King’s Lynn and Wisbech Campuses over the past few years. This includes refurbishing existing buildings and constructing new state-of-the art technology centres in King’s Lynn and Wisbech according to BREEAM standards (achieving BREEAM Very Good). 

Further funding has enabled the College to start construction of its £6.5 million University Centre in King’s Lynn. The University Centre is due to open in September 2016 and includes a range of energy efficiency measures, with the aim to achieve BREEAM Excellent. 

Energy and carbon management

We published our first carbon management plan in 2012 through the Carbon Trust’s Further Education Carbon Management Programme. The first CMP had an ambitious target of a 30% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by academic year 2014/15 on a 2009/10 baseline. We are now reviewing our first CMP target and are about to write our second CMP for the period 2015/16 to 2019/20.

Biomass boilers were installed in the King’s Lynn and Wisbech technology centres with wood pellets supplied from sustainable local sources. These boilers, alongside air-source heat pumps, provide all heating for the building - all but eliminating our need to use mains gas for heating purposes.

The College has a rolling programme of LED lighting renewal, including LED street lighting and has installed PIR occupancy and absence detection in key areas to maximise energy and carbon savings. We are in the process of securing additional funding through Salix for further LED lighting projects on the King’s Lynn Campus.  

The new F Block at Wisbech was completed in September 2015 and houses a 24kW array of solar PV on the roof, with a monitor in reception to be used as an awareness-raising and educational tool. Nearly all buildings are controlled by our building management system and in many areas energy requirements can be controlled centrally and remotely, with a view to increase this across the whole estate.  

Waste management

The three main sites at King’s Lynn, Wisbech and Cambridge have segregated bins for dry mixed recycling and non-recyclable waste. When demolishing old buildings, we try to take account of the waste this produces and reuse wherever possible. We have donated furniture and office equipment to a range of local and national charities, such as British Heart Foundation. After demolishing the Science Block at our King’s Lynn Campus we reused the building rubble as aggregate for a new visitor car park.

CWA students on National Citizen Service recently carried out litter picking around the Sports Campus as part of the national ‘Clean for the Queen’ campaign. To increase recycling rates we are reviewing waste practices on all sites. In the pipeline is a food waste audit and recycling proposal for the Catering and Hospitality kitchens led by students on the Level 2 Sustainable Waste Management Operative course.  


The King’s Lynn and Wisbech campuses have active travel plans and we are devising a travel plan for the Cambridge Campus. The College has covered cycle stands and staff can take advantage of the Cycle to Work and in-house car sharing scheme. We have recently started a three year lease for fleet vehicles to replace our old fleet which was around seven to nine years old. This includes an electric car which is used for the staff shuttle service between the King’s Lynn and Wisbech Campuses. The electric car can make use of charging points at our three main sites. 

In February 2016 we held a pop-up travel café and Dr. Bike event in Wisbech in partnership with Cambridgeshire County Council. The event was a great success with 47 Council staff and CWA staff and students in attendance. We were commended for this sustainable travel initiative as part of the 2016 Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Workplace Travel Plan Awards.


To save water we have installed low capacity dual flush cisterns, Cistermiser flush controls, Cistermiser PIR sensors, aerated taps and sensor taps. Mains-fed water coolers are used across campus, meaning that water isn’t transported long distances. Students are encouraged to conserve water as part of their course, for example Hairdressing students are taught to switch off taps between hair washes.

We have a 25,000 litre capacity rainwater harvesting tank which supplies the 18 toilets and urinals in the Wisbech Technology Centre. Since the building was completed in summer 2013, the rainwater harvester has saved the College over 280 cubic metres (or 280,000 litres) of potable mains water. 


Students from the Uniformed and Public Services department recently helped to plant an avenue of trees along the Nar Ouse Way in King’s Lynn, as a part of a project by the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk. This project was a part of the wider Nar Ouse development, which is a 48.5 ha site to the south of King’s Lynn town centre. This is the largest brownfield regeneration project ever handled in West Norfolk and one of the largest in the East of England.

At the Cambridge Campus, Animal Care students carry out wildlife surveys around the site as part of their course. The 2016/17 project is to work on the wildlife area planting native trees and plants around the pond to encourage wildlife. Animal Care students have also built and maintain a vegetable patch to grow food for the animals on site.

The College aims to extract added value from its relationships with contractors. For example, the new grounds maintenance contract includes managing a College-wide student in bloom competition, due to take place next year. The contractor will provide equipment, plants and practical advice to participating students and will take part in the judging of the competition as well as provide a prize for the winners.

Main Contact Name: Katherine Middleton, Energy and Environment Officer
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