SAMS turns over a new Leaf

Deputy director Prof Axel Miller with the electric car

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The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) has taken delivery of an electric car.

The Nissan Leaf, which replaces a diesel work vehicle, is part of the push to make its Dunstaffnage site near Oban, more environmentally friendly.

The changes are part of SAMS’ new environmental management plan to overhaul many of its practises. A staff-led sustainability group is helping to inform company policy.

Next steps include installing electric charging points at the campus.

SAMS has already taken delivery of a fully-electric Polaris ATV utility vehicle to replace a diesel equivalent.

The institute was also declared a Cycle Friendly Employer this year after opening new shower and changing facilities and a cycle shed.

SAMS director Prof Nicholas Owens said: ‘We feel it is important that organisations like SAMS lead the way in ensuring workplaces are as environmentally friendly as possible and as a laboratory we treat workplace safety with paramount importance.’

SAMS was recently awarded two internationally-recognised ‘standards’ for environmental management and for health and safety.

It involved the institute passing a stringent examination of its health and safety and environmental management procedures.

It means it has now gained the International Standards Organisation (ISO) 14001:2015 standard for environmental management, and the ISO45001: 2018 standard for health and safety.

The awards recognise a long-held commitment to safety in the workplace and to reducing environmental impacts and waste at its lab.

Prof Owens commented: ‘The ISO standards, recognised throughout the world, are an important milestone in proving we practice what we preach and will ensure we do not rest on our laurels; we strive to keep doing better.

‘I’d like to thank the team led by the safety, health and environment adviser Chris Clay for helping us gain these awards.’

The SAMS assessment was more than two years in preparation and carried out over seven days. It had to be done remotely because of the lockdown.

Diana Murray, chair of the SAMS board, said: ‘These standards are important to the entire scope of work at SAMS, across research, education and enterprise as we strive for excellence in all that we do.

‘While we have always known that SAMS delivers the highest quality across all its operations, we now have an internationally-recognised benchmark to prove that to our staff, students and customers.’