Page last updated at 16:15 GMT, Sunday, 30 August 2009 17:15 UK

Birds centre wins tourism award

Wild Bird Discovery Centre at Saltholme
The Saltholme centre opened to the public in January

A multi-million pound Teesside wildlife centre has gained a "gold award" for sustainable tourism.

The £7m Saltholme Wild Bird Discovery Centre, near Middlesbrough, has received a Green Tourism Business Scheme certificate.

The 1,000-acre (440-hectare) reserve's visitor centre was designed to include a host of features which promote sustainable energy.

More than 50,000 people have visited the site since it opened in January.

The centre's walls are rammed with soil which acts as a storage heater and the building relies on the circulation of natural air, instead of air-conditioning.

Rainwater is also collected and used to flush the toilets, and the site has its own natural sewage treatment works that purifies water through a specially designed reed-bed.

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