Last Friday I visited a Bed and Breakfast near Steyning to present a Gold Award from the Green Tourism Business Scheme.

Nash Manor doesn't just do B&B - it offers retreats, health-related workshops and conference facilities.  It also has an online shop, selling a variety of organic products.

The business is owned by May and Liz Esler, a mother and daughter team who have been at Nash Manor for almost eight years.

The Green Tourism Business Scheme began ten years ago and has more than 1,400 members.  It measures businesses against things like energy and water consumption, and waste management.

It was a great achievement for May and Liz to win the Gold Award at the first attempt, and I was delighted to present them with it.

I made the point that tourism is very important to West Sussex, and that consumers are increasingly conscious of green issues, so marrying the two up seems a good idea.

I was very struck by May's plea that every individual can make a difference to the environment, while also saving themselves money, for instance by recycling or fitting energy saving lightbulbs.

Increasingly our villages are taking action, too.  In Steyning, people are taking part in a new scheme that will see food and milk cartons collected and recycled.

In Amberley, the village shop has issued reusable bags to every household in the village to cut down on the number of plastic bags ending up in landfill sites.  Henfield is looking at the same idea.

Even people who are sceptical about green issues can see that more waste in West Sussex landfill sites such as Horton, Rock Common and Laybrook is an awful prospect, so I hope these local schemes win support.

And protecting the environment isn't just for ourselves.  As May said, we all have a duty to future generations to act now.

Michelle Taylor