Malcolm Anderson - our environmental advisor

The east front at Dyrham Park

Everyone loves a cuppa at the Trust, so we thought we’d make a regular feature out of interviewing people over a day’s worth of tea breaks. For the first of our ‘Tea time with...’ interviews, we sat down with Malcolm Anderson, our environmental advisor for the South West.

Morning Malcolm. Tell us a little about your role at the Trust...

I help properties in the South West reduce their environmental impact - from energy and water to waste and any raw materials that are being brought in.

What’s the best bit about mornings in your job?

The quiet time when you arrive at a property and there’s nobody there. If you walk into Dyrham Park, Gloucestershire, at 8.30am, all the deer are by the road and the house is in the mist.
12.30pm, cup of tea and a sandwich

What have you been working on this morning?

We’re reviewing our environmental performance across our properties, so this morning we interviewed heads of departments about the impact of their activities on the environment. Next, we’ll check what’s actually happening on the ground.

How did you get into this job?

I dropped out of school and followed the surf and snow around the world. In Canada I went through an enormous logging scar where no living things had survived. I thought ‘I need to do something about this’, so I went home and did a degree in environmental protection.
From there I went to work for a government research agency. I worked on big construction projects with a sustainability focus. I did that for nine years and then, six years ago, I got the opportunity to work for the Trust.

Why is your role important to the National Trust?

We spend a huge amount of money on energy, and as a charity we just can’t afford to do that. If fuel prices treble in the next ten or 15 years, we simply won’t be able to heat the places that we look after. It’s a stark message, but at the current rate we could even have to mothball houses, seal them and not open them.
The Trust was set up as a philanthropic organisation. It was about access to fresh air and green spaces and I think the environmental message sits right in that. In my role I’m helping to make sure these places can be accessed forever.
3.30pm, cup of tea and a slice of lemon cake

What are the biggest challenges in your job?

We’re an enormous organisation. The property that the public see is just the tip of the iceberg and until you work for the Trust you don’t realise what’s under the surface. You’re trying to achieve a lot on little money, so it’s about prioritising.

What do you love about your job?

Sitting on the quayside at Brownsea Island, Dorset, and having a meeting while eating fish and chips. Or helping the rangers out with the Stonehenge solstice…There are lots of little moments that I love.