Monthly Archives: March 2009

Green scheme “too popular”

It's up there and it's free

It's up there and it's free

Sarah Mukherjee, the BBC News Environment correspondent reports that environmental campaigners  are astonished at the government’s decision to suspend a scheme which gave grants to schools, hospitals and other public buildings to switch to renewable energy.  The Low Carbon Buildings Programme has apparently been too popular – particularly with those hoping to install solar panels. Staff at Great Missenden School in Buckinghamshire had hoped that their application for a grant to put up solar PV panels would be considered, but now they’ve been told they’ve missed out.  “They’ve run out of money – it’s been very popular,” says Margaret Dixon, the school’s librarian, who’s been heading up the application. “It would obviously be lovely if we could get some money because it’s such a wonderful technology and such an example to the local community to have it happening here at the school.”We were also hoping for solar panels on the church as well, which would have been great for Great Missenden as a whole.”  The school is hoping it might get some funding from the National Lottery, but, like many others, it now finds itself having to look for other forms of cash for its solar plans. Alan Brookes, headmaster of Fulston Manor School in Sittingbourne in Kent says the school’s solar panels have cut electricity bills by between five and 10% but also says that  the educational benefits have been just as significant. “Children were going home talking to their parents about it, parents got interested, community groups came, and you begin the dialogue,” he says. “If you can raise the awareness, then you’ve done a major job.” Those within the renewable energy industry say this state of affairs is no surprise. The Renewable Energy Association says it warned the government in February that the money within the scheme was going to run out for PV. They say cash allocated for other renewable technologies is likely to remain unspent, because nobody has applied for it. but the government has not re-allocated this cash to the ultra-popular solar PV, so, the association says, it is likely that about £8m of funding will simply end up going back to the Treasury. Ed Matthew, from Friends of the Earth, is in no doubt about just how fast we are moving towards the low carbon economy spoken of by Business Secretary Lord Mandelson and the prime minister. “It almost defies belief,” he says. “We have to almost completely decarbonise the energy system in the UK in the next 20 to 30 years to avoid catastrophic climate change … meanwhile, the government appears to be taking the renewables industry apart.” And others point out that this is not the first time such grants have been over-subscribed. In the past, the government’s funding schemes for domestic renewable energy projects proved so popular that the money ran out within hours of it becoming available. Renewable energy experts say it has all been disastrous and could leave the UK at a competitive disadvantage in the future.



The Woodstock Principles


woodstock_logo1The Woodstock Principles, launched on Earth Day 2008, are a set of ten simple voluntary aspirations designed to encourage musicians, bandleaders, and the music industry to commit to more environmentally friendly music activity. They include commitments like reducing energy use and waste at concerts, using recycled materials in band merchandizing, traveling lighter, choosing responsible suppliers, and generally, just “being green” about music. The idea behind The Woodstock Principles is not to have immediate and strict compliance for every principle by everyone in the music industry, but rather to encourage musicians and the music industry to become progressively more sustainable.  Musicians are invited to use the principles and the resources offered through The Woodstock Principles’ website and its various links to other institutions and organizations promoting greener music, to guide themselves, suppliers, advertisers and fans to be more sustainable. We are seeing growing global concern over our planet’s environmental future, and bands and bandleaders are beginning to look around to see what they can do about going green. The Woodstock Principles provide guidance to our musical idols and social icons to help them lead the way towards a more sustainable future.


The original 10 Woodstock Principles were written by a small group of musicians and environmentalists from around the world, and launched publicly on Earth Day, April 22, 2008, from Lucerne Switzerland. An interim Advisory Board oversees the evolution of the Woodstock Principles and works to evolve the 10 principles, add to website resources and the site’s virtual database, and disseminate The Woodstock Principles to other musicians and music industry actors.


The principles themselves will be periodically reviewed and revised as the music industry evolves with respect to its sustainability.


For more information contact: and see


1.                             Promote Sustainable Development in All Music Endeavors

2.                             Measure, Minimize, Report and Repair Your Environmental Impact

3.                             Reduce Energy Use at Concerts and Recordings

4.                             Sell More Environmentally Friendly Products and Concerts

5.                             Reduce Waste Generated by Concerns and Tours

6.                             Use more Environmentally Friendly Suppliers & Service Providers

7.                             Use Recycled Products in Band Merchandizing

8.                             Encourage Fans and Concert Goers to Adopt Sustainable Practices

9.                             Promote Environmental Protection in Public Appearances

10.                         Buy Green Where Possible in All Music Production


Shell pulls out of sustainable energy

You CAN'T be sure of shell .....

You CAN'T be sure of shell .....

The Times (18/03/09) reports that Royal Dutch Shell is scrapping all most all of it’s expenditure on wind, solar and hydrogen technology renewable energy and will focus on oil, gas, biofuels and carbon capture. John Sauven from Greenpeace said that Shell had “rejoined the ranks of the dirtiest most regressive corporations in the world”. Shell has invested a total of $1.7 billion on alternative energy in the last five years – but this is dwarfed by it’s annual spend – $32 billion last year and Sauvern adds “after years of proclaiming a committment to clean power they are now pulling out of the technology we need to see scaled up if we are to slash (carbon) emissions”.

Sunrise …..

sunrise-ad-3Sunrise, which moved to the Big Chill last year, is back, and highlights begin with the inaugural celebrations on Thursday eve, carnival stylee, with magic lanterns, walk about performance, fire dancing and drumming at the opening ceremony, commencing four days of inspiration, and exuberant creativity. Featuring six stages, our own traditional bandstand, live Poetry slams in the Eartheart. Tantra Workshops and ecstatic dance with Jewls Wingfield, wild food walks and Bush Craft, Breton Dancing, Green Graffiti displays, The Sun Worshipper’s Planetarium, Tipis and saunas, permaculture gardens, Cabaret, Solar Cinema, Walk about performance, Adults Bouncy Castle! A labyrinth, Talks, workshops and forums. With speakers including Jeremy Leggett, Patrick Whitefield, Nick Rosen, Greg Samms, Jonathan Cainer and many more on matters of Ancient Futures, Transition movement, Alternative Technology, Earth Mysteries, Astrology, Ethnobotany and Community.  The music line-up is being finalised and will be announced VERY soon. There will some rising stars and old festie favourites, stay tuned….

AIM Music connected launches

The UK‘s biggest digital music networking event returns to London on 21staim April 2009! visit the AIM site AT and book your tickets now!

Music Connected is a 1-day event focused on the digital world and independent music companies, tightly targeted and without unnecessary frills, that delivers a fantastic return on time and money. This is your chance to meet the key players in the digital music world, learn about the latest digital music developments, network and even do some deals.

Previous Music Connected events have seen over 400 attendees from the digital and independent music communities, including iTunes, Napster, Orange, Nokia, eMusic, We7 and Myspace and labels Beggars/XL, Cooking Vinyl, Ninja Tune, Domino and Cherry Red amongst others.


About the Event

The format will be based around three main spaces, one – the ‘Digital Market Place’ – with space for around 16 stands to be hosted by digital companies.

The second space, the ‘Conference Zone’, will offer a programme of seminars, workshops and presentations on digital music issues, including market research presentations, case studies of digital marketing campaigns and lively panel discussions on current issues.

The final room offers space for informal meeting and chatting, as well as a bar and the day’s networking lunch, which is included in the event’s ticket price.


Digital companies already confirmed include:

7 Digital, Consolidated Independent, DA Recordings, eMusic, Finetunes, IMD Fastrax, iTunes, Juno Download, Kudos Records, London Connected, Microsoft Xbox, MUZU.TV, peoplesmusicstore, PPL, PRS for Music, Rightscom Ltd, Shazam, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, state51, Sound Cloud, We7, Zebralution. Many more to be announced in the coming weeks!


DATE/TIME: Tuesday 21st April 2008 – 10am- 5pm

VENUE: Glaziers Hall, 9 Montague Close, London Bridge, London., SE1 9DD

PRICE: £25 inc VAT and lunch for members/ Friends of AIM. £100 inc VAT and lunch to non members. There is a 50% discount on the full (non members) ticket price for members of MMF, MPA, BPI and other affiliate organisations.

What’s the colour of money?

Will the green debate have a happy ending?

Will the green debate have a happy ending?

MusicTank And Julie’s Bicycle Ask What’s The Colour Of Money?



“Can The Music Industry Afford To Go Green?”

Monday 30th March – PRS For Music, Berners St, W1


  • Panel To Debate Music Industry’s Effect On Environment
  • Can Industry Afford To Go Green In A Time Of Recession?

Whilst the music industry is generally concerned with creating heat for their artists it is unavoidably also a major contributor towards climate change. On March 30th MusicTank, Julie’s Bicycle and Knowledge Connect will host a debate looking at whether the music industry can actually afford to make real sacrifices in the name of the environment or whether it is better placed sticking to benefit concerts and easy slogans. The truth is that musicians may publicly and loudly beat the drum for environmental causes but from album packaging and manufacture to continent crossing tours and festivals, all too often the machine that powers their careers is belching out a fog of pollutants. This needn’t be the case though and many music organisations have made great strides in cleaning up their acts but, as we lumber through this recession, how many green initiatives will be sidelined by cost cutting measures? Many will argue that we can’t afford to go green, not just yet at any rate. This evening’s debate will sort fact from fiction and examine what sustainability measures are sustainable by the music business at this point in time. Confirmed speakers include Tony Wadsworth, Chairman of the BPI, who has spearheaded a campaign on CD packaging with record labels, Jon Webster, CEO of the Music Manager’s Forum, Catherine Bottrill, scientist, and Andrew Haworth, Environmental Manager at Live Nation, together they will discuss the opportunities, dilemmas and costs of tackling climate change with the music industry. 



Date & Time: Mon 30th Mar | 18.30-21.00hrs. 

Chair:           Keith Harris, Chairman, MusicTank

Panel:           Tony Wadsworth, Chairman, BPI

                   Jon Webster, CEO, Music Managers Forum

                   Catherine Bottrill, Scientist

                   Andrew Haworth, Environmental Manager, Live Nation


Venue: Basement Bar, Copyright House, Berner’s Street, London W1T 3AB. Cost: £15 MusicTank Members | £20 Full price. Tickets incl. drinks.  Ticket prices are subsidised by Knowledge Connect. All places MUST be booked and paid for in advance via

Julie’s Bicycle was formed in April 2007 by a group of people concerned about climate change who wanted to find ways to reduce the carbon footprint of the UK music industry. 

A business initiative of the University of Westminster, MusicTank programmes and produces seminars and debates each year, focused on developing innovation and best practice within the music industry.

A brief guide to renewable energy

As free as the windEveryone talks about “renewable” and “sustainable” energy but ever since we realised that vast tracts of virgin rainforest were being cut down to feed the demand for palm oil, it is important to know where energy really comes from. Well first of all, it seems coal fired power stations are just about the worst of everything, polluting, inefficient and with a worrying carbon footprint – but of course coal is plentiful and cheap. So what are the alternatives? Here is our brief guide:



Energy from the sea and rivers


Tidal energy: this involves using large movements of oceanic water to generate energy. This can be split into tidal flow, where turbines in barrages or lagoons harness energy from the ebb and flow of water and tidal stream where horizontal turbines are mounted on the seabed to harness energy, similar to giant windmills. Tidal flow barrages have been criticised by some conservationists because of damage to the ecology of wild plants and wildlife.


Wave power involves using the movement of waves on the surface of the sea to harness electricity using wave generators which sit on the surface of the sea, often looking like giant snakes.


Hydroelectricity: both on a commercial scale and on a micro scale energy can be produced by harnessing the power of rivers and falling water. Here turbines are used to create electricity. There are issues concerning the building of dams and the destruction of environments and with fresh water being a finite resource with effects of climate change, fresh water supplies will be more precious, and some current hydroelectricity plants may find difficulties with the changing flow of water.



Wind energy


Generation of electricity from the wind is now one of the fastest growing sources of renewable energy. Its not new – the wind has powered sailing boats, windmills and wind pumps for hundreds of years. Recently the EU Council of Ministers lent their support for a EU super grid in the North Sea to generate electricity. However there have been concerns about the negative impact of wind farms on the landscape, particularly in areas of outstanding natural beauty.



Solar Power


Solar power converts sunlight into electricity or heat energy.


Solar Photovoltaics (PV) uses photovoltaic cells to convert daylight into energy – electricity.


Solar thermal uses energy from the sun to create hot water to use in buildings and homes.  New developments include solar heated ventilators which use the sun’s energy to circulate warmed air through buildings. 



Biomass, biogas and bioliquids.


These are terms for organic substances or gases derived form non-fossil animal or vegetable matter – food and farm waste is one source. They are accepted as ‘carbon neutral’ as the carbon released in the burning process is equal to that which is absorbed when the biomass is grown (for plants and vegetation). The most common form of biomass is wood which can be burnt in the form of logs, pellets or woodchip. At present the UK’s biogas industry is small but estimates say that they offer a major opportunity for dealing with the millions of tonnes of organic waste produced each year and green gas could provide an important future source of gas heating and can be used to generate electricity. Bioliquids can. be used in heating oils.


Biofuels: this has caused much heartache and clearly the production of biofuels has an impact on local agriculture, local food sources and the environment. At the moment we can say that the only acceptable source of biofuel is “already used” cooking oils.



Ground source heat pumps


Described as a ‘fridge in reverse’ taking heat from underground and releasing this into a building. Whilst an electric pump is needed to run the system it will provide a fourfold energy ‘return’ on the electricity used.



And remember, a starting point is often energy efficiency – and this can be done before or at the same time as looking for clean energy sources. Insulating buildings, promoting energy efficiency and reducing waste will all provide immediate financial returns and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. 



Source: The Times (Raconteur on Clean Technologies) 

Source: CAfS/SusKes


As free as the wind