WINCHESTER City Council has revealed the first recipients of its new certification aimed at improving environmental performance.

The Carbon Smart Winchester certificate has been awarded to the University of Winchester and Dairy Cottage, who offer self-catering holiday accommodation at Cowgrove Farm at Ropley, near Alresford.

Rob Humby, deputy leader of the city council, said: “The university and Dairy Cottage are just the first two of a whole stream of businesses whom we expect to be accredited for their green credentials. We are helping our local businesses to take their environmental responsibilities seriously, and reap the financial rewards at the same time.”

Launched in October 2012, more than 30 businesses are taking part, with the Carbon Smart team on hand to explain how organisations can evaluate their carbon footprint and identify measures to reduce their impact on the environment.

The University of Winchester was singled out for a gold award on account of their carbon reduction plan which has seen savings of 22 per cent carbon since 2006.

Mathew Jane, the university's energy and environment manager, said: “The University of Winchester has taken its responsibility towards its environment seriously for some time now. We are constantly looking for new ways to further reduce our carbon footprint, and make efforts to improve our environmental performance wherever possible. Our new Learning and Teaching building, St Alphege, is a very sustainable building.”

Dairy Cottage at Cowgrove Farm and the owners have taken the right steps to minimise its carbon footprint. Measures include providing recycling bins, the use of ecological cleaning products and regular monitoring and minimising of electricity use.