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Green camping in Europe and the UK

Eco-Campsites throughout the United Kingdom and Europe

'Green' camping in Europe


On the continent, environmental schemes, like the EU-wide EcoLabel or German EcoCamping, provide guidelines for eco-aware campsites and recognise campsites’ attainment of certain standards.

La Clef Vert

Similarly, the Clef Verte scheme in France is France’s principal campsite environmental scheme and encourages site owners to adopt an environmentally sound approach to the running of their campsite.

Clef Vert

It takes account of key elements:

  • Landscape and overall quality of life (traffic management, availability of open spaces, control of noise pollution etc).
  • Environmental management (environmentally friendly management methods, e.g. wash block maintenance).
  • Waste management (general waste reduction, waste collection for recycling).
  • Water management (water treatment, irrigation methods, reduction in water usage).
  • Energy management (general reduction in usage, energy saving devices etc).
  • Environmental education (information about the Green Key scheme, staff training, creation of awareness about local fauna and flora).

Eco Camping in the UK

Historically, this was a veritable minefield, but there have been significant measures introduced in recent years. Local authorities aim to protect the environment through local planning regulations – especially in ensuring that caravan sites don’t visually blight the environment.

The small CL-type campsites were originally a good bet, being little more than a small field, a tap, and a lot of open air. For camping at its simplest, this was, and usually still is, a good option when looking for a campsite with a ‘green’ heart. But as some campsites have become bigger and boast ever more impressive facilities (think water parks, spas, proper restaurants) so these credentials can become harder to maintain, with greater consumption of natural resources, increased risk of pollution, and harder commercial decisions to be taken.

The Caravan and Motorhome Club

The Caravan and Motorhome Club undertakes an ambitious rolling programme of biodiversity audits, followed by positive action, and runs a variety of ‘green’ activities. Several of its sites are even located on SSSIs (Sites of Special Scientific Interest).

The Camping and Caravanning Club

The Camping and Caravanning Club also promotes ‘green’ caravanning. Many of its sites have introduced eco-friendly materials, increased energy efficiency, recycling, and honeycomb grid hardstanding that allows the grass to grow and rain to disperse.

The Bellamy Awards

David Bellamy
David Bellamy
The Bellamy Awards

David Bellamy (1933-2019) was an English botanist, environmental campaigner, and broadcaster. He was known for his passionate advocacy for conservation and the natural world and was a popular figure on television in the UK in the 1970s and 80s, presenting a number of programmes on natural history and the environment.

Presented in his name, these awards have achieved widespread recognition in the UK. The process of accreditation involves evaluation by Conservation Foundation assessors and local environmental experts, as well as input from site visitors. An independent assessment is then conducted. The scheme covers energy efficiency, energy generation, ‘green’ energy purchase, light pollution, reduction of waste and water conservation, use of local contractors and materials (e.g. low-toxicity paints, unbleached paper for brochures and long-life light bulbs) and eco-friendly purchasing policies.

Participating parks are actively involved in various schemes of environmental significance. These have included glowworm surveys, a national ladybird audit, a breeding scheme for harvest mice, brown trout breeding, and schemes to encourage butterflies – to name but a few.

Carbon Neutral Camping

A small number of campsites are now certified carbon neutral and we felt that they deserve a special mention:

Camping MondSeeLand

MondSeeLand is set in a delightful location and offers excellent facilities in a pleasant part of Austria, to the east of Salzburg, between the lakes...

Campingplatz Bullerby am Attersee

Camping Bullerby am Attersee is on the banks of a man made lake at the western tip of Osnabrück. This is a family site focussing...

Camping Arizona

Camping Arizona is a green site with a zero carbon rating, set on steep slopes, and 500 m. from the pretty town of Tabiano, with...

The Quiet Site Caravan & Camping Park

The Quiet Site is a secluded, family run park operating as a carbon neutral company. It is situated on a hillside in the Lake District...

Balatontourist Camping & Bungalows Füred

This is a large international holiday village rather than just a campsite. Pleasantly decorated with flowers and shrubs, it offers a very wide range of...

Caravaning l’Etoile d’Argens

This is a large, modern site with excellent Eco credentials. Access is very easy; reception is modern and very efficient in most European languages. The...