Thinking green on the Norfolk coast

Heat pumps, wood burners - even a composting loo. Sustainability was the name of the game yesterday as businesses and campaign groups staged an Earth Day on the North Norfolk Coast.

Hundreds flocked to eco-friendly backpacker's hostel-cum retail destination Deepdale for tips on how to green up their homes or businesses.

There were also tours of the award-winning site, talks on everything from insulating your loft to cutting your food miles with the Norfolk Diet.

Alister Borthwick, who began developing the Deepdale complex from redundant farm buildings just under 10 years ago, said sustainability had added up for the business.

“There's no point spending money if you can do it cheaper and do it locally,” he said.

Mr Borthwick and his son Jason now hope to develop the former Ferryboat Inn, off Norwich's Rouen Road, along similar lines to Deepdale, which has created jobs and a focal point for eco-friendly tourism on the coast.

Richard Rampton, from Norfolk Rural Business Advice Service, was one of the advisers on hand at the event, which began after a business breakfast attended by almost 30 firms.

“There are a lot of brownie points for energy saving and resource saving,” he said. “We're doing a lot of work with farmers about water efficiency and water saving measures. There's a lot of work going on that East Anglia will be grateful for in future.”

Green Party hopeful Michael de Whalley was the only candidate in the forthcoming election to attend the event.

“I think it's extremely important that we take environmental issues seriously,” said Mr de Whalley, whose campaigning slate includes greater support for small businesses.

One small business flying the flag for Norfolk was Bray's Cottage, aka Holt-based pork pie maker Sarah Pettegree.

Ms Pettegree created the Norfolk Diet, when a feature in EDP Norfolk magazine inspired her to eat only food from the county for a month.

“We have an incredible wealth of food in Norfolk, so many small producers,” she said. “So many of those honesty boxes selling mussels, samphire and eggs by the side of the road.”

Eastern Daily Press - Journalist: Chris Bishop