WEST Downs Day Nursery is a deeper shade of green after receiving the top award in an international scheme.

The prestigious Green Flag for exceptional environmental awareness and conservation efforts has been awarded to children and staff at the preschool in Romsey Road.

It is powered by green electricity and has zero waste to landfill – and topped the scheme which involves millions of children across 64 countries.

Jack Meekings, manager, said the award was the result of years of continuous dedication by staff and children, working together in the global Eco-schools programme.

"We are absolutely delighted to have earned this award," he added.

"Respecting and caring for the planet is an important lesson which we believe will stand the children in good stead for life.

"The fact that our children understand the importance of protecting the environment is brilliant and should be celebrated."

In the garden outside, children grow and tend to fruit, vegetables and herbs all year round.

Once picked, the produce is explored for learning purposes and used by Nursery Chefs in meals for the children.

The garden also plays host to a number of animal habitats, including a bug hotel and the children’s hand-made birdfeeders to encourage biodiversity.

Amy Stubbington, team leader and member of the nusery's Eco-Committee, added: "The activities are extremely popular with the children and we love seeing how much they enjoy being outside and tending to the eco-projects."

The committee also has pupils who ensure that the rest of the nursery is environmentally considerate.