Monthly Archives: March 2010

Plainly stupid – UK Goverment admits to flawed Heathrow economics

Oh, the muddle of Government and the ongoing incompetence …. enough to make you weep. Except it happens so frequently we don’t have the time or the energy! No pun intended. Anyway, Ministers have now been forced to admit that Heathrow’s third runway, approved in January 2009 by the now suspended Labour party MP Geoff Hoon when he was Transport Secretary, will not provide the economic benefits that were promised because the cost of carbon and pollution will be much higher than anticipated. The information, forced out of The Department for Transport by a Feeedom of Information Act request (how long before the FOI is watered down? All this truth stuff must be killing ministers and departments) says that the economic benefits of a bigger Heathrow were expected to fall saying “while the new shadow price of carbon would reduce the montestised net benefit of a third runway at Heathrow, the economic case for additional capacity at Heathrow would remain positive”. The Lib Dems say that their analysis shows that the cost of environmental damage from the new runway would almost wipe out economic benefits the Government had promised. The DfT rejected the Lib Dems’ figures as flawed.


Green investment prioritised in UK

UK Business Secretary Lord Mandelson has announced that Nissan is investing £420 million in building 50,000 electric cars in Sunderland from 2013. The new cars, the LEAF model, will be built in the North East, Japan and the USA. The UK Government will put up a £20 million grant and the European Investment Bank has provided £200 million in loans, safeguarding over 2000 jobs in the region. Nissan has also committed to produce 60,000 lithium batteries for itself and Renault in Sunderland. Conservative party leader David Cameron is set to announce plans for a new Green Investment Bank to finance offshore wind farms and new nuclear reactors if they are elected. In a package of measures that will have far reaching implications for industry and consumers, Cameron is also expected to call for a floor price in carbon to be set to stimulate a demand for cleaner forms of energy. Loosely based on Germany’s KfW Bank, which invested almost £20 billion in environmental projects in 2009, the Tories see the Bank as a way of bringing together existing funding such as the Carbon Trust and the Marine Renewables Deployment Fund together under one roof have the Bank and act as an intermediary to help and package green investment opportunities

The big green race to Beach Break Live

Those lovely peeps at Beach Break Live have come up with a whacky new wheeze – a race to the festival… but with a difference. Their fume free odyssey involves a joyful journey to the festy in the most efficient time BUT WITH THE SMALLEST CARBON FOOTPRINT. The victor’s podium will probably be possessed by a pogo-sticking, hitch-hiking, raft-riding, wind-surfing, hang- gliding, pedal-pushing group of Beachbreakers. More formula fun, than Formula 1, the Eco Race will be judged by taking into account distance traveled, maximum possible speed of mode of transport chosen, level of ambition and imagination – but most of all with a sense of humour. The Festival says that the winning group will get a hero’s welcome, be wantonly worshipped during the main stage prize giving, receive VIP upgrades for the whole event – and can choose an environmental charity for the Festival to make a donation to. Additional prizes will be given for ingenuity / stupidity and for bringing the least practical item possible to Beach Break Live. To enter, festival goers need to send Beach Break Live their proposed mode of transport, the size of the group andwhere you will be travelling from – and photographic/film evidence of your heroic journey will be required! Other green initiatives at Beach Break Live 2010 include site wide recycling (hardly anything goes to landfill) and hopefully a third of the festival audience coming by coach this year, significantly cutting audience travel carbon emissions. The Festival also promotes and encourage people to take the train and cuts carbon emissions by using local companies.

See more at at  and

Eve tracks BS8901 to woo new business

BS8901? Eh? Well it is the British Standard (BS8901) for sustainability for the events industry, and now access and trackway provider Eve Trackway has been awarded the standard in a move to win new business. Health, safety & environment manager Mike Timmins told Audience Magazine “we hope the certification will help win new business  by meeting customer demands, as more and more event organisers recognise the importance of corporate social responsibility”. To earn the award Eve had to provide evidence that it considers all areas of sustainability including social and economic factors such as community employment and fair employment.

Glastonbury reservoirs save water miles

Think of 177,500 people in a Somerset Valley usually home to a herd of dairy cattle. Think of a large town built out of canvas. Think of the amount of food and water needed to keep that town going – and there are no sewers, drains, pipes or water towers – and remember what goes in must come out! Michael Eavis and his team at the Glastonbury Festival have taken a long hard look at the logistics of feeding and watering a town centre the size of Sunderland – in a field – and realised that that in 2008 the Festival used  168 tankers to carry in water by road and that sewage was being driven off site in a 90 mile round trip to Avonmouth. By 2009 the reliance on tankers had decreased to 108 tankers as the festival took action to reduce water miles by building reservoirs on site and it is planned just 6 tankers will be needed in 2010.  And the sewage – that will be going to a local site within ten miles of Worthy Farm, ramatically reducing fuel use by over 90% – from 2800 gallons to just 250 gallons. The Festival has now completed the installation of thre second of two planned reservoirs and Michael Eavis considers the money well spent saying “the water works cost £250,000 and the sewage investmet was £45,000 but we will be making real savings and that is forever. To be entirely carbon neutral would be to not have a show at all. But we are attempting to make a difference”. This year’s headiners at the Somerset mega bash, now in its 40th year,  include U2 and Muse.

Sustainable touring gets the green light

The 2010 ILMC Green Room in London next weekend (see will be looking at sustainable touring and with news that the cross music industry campaign group Julies Bicycle will publish their new research in to the impact of touring in the near future,  the role of green touring is a topical subject. In the USA campaign group ATC has “created a guide to provide a framework that will help artists and managers navigate the abundant and somewhat contradictory information on lessening the environmental impact of touring in the music industry”.  See

Contents include:.

  • From Greening To Sustainability: Shifting The Debate
  • The Big Question: What Are Your Goals?
  • Reduce Your Tour’s Environmental Footprint
  • Carbon Emissions And Offsetting
  • Biodiesel And The Liquid Fuel Dilemma
  • Renewable Energy Certificates
  • Walk The Walk
  • One stop shop 
  • Links And Resources

You can also download TIPS FOR A MORE SUSTAINABLE TOUR BY ATC (pdf format – 107.32 Kb)
A quick and prioritized list of how to make your tour more environmentally sustainable based on ATC’s collected knowledge and valuable “lessons learned” from a variety of artists, industry leading experts and organizations that have been implementing sustainability into concerts, festivals and tours.

Also on sustainable touring take a look at  Reverb’s site at  which provides more details, advice and contacts. Reverb have greened 81 tours up to early 2010 saving over 67,000 tonnes of CO2 and reaching 10 million plus fans. Artists involved include The Dave Matthes Band, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Sheryl Crowe, John Mayer, Jason Mraz, Linkin Park, Ben Folds, Bonnie Rait, Kelly Clarkson, Phish, Coldplay, John Legend, The Fray, Crowded House, Aimee Mann and Maroon 5.  Reverb are also promoting the Campus Consciousness tour in April 2010 featuring seven college dates by Ben Harper and seventeen campus dates by Drake.

Radiohead were one of the first bands to actively consider the impact of touring and Best Foot Forward analysed their North American theatre and arena tours in 2003 and 2006. The report, Ecological Footprint & Carbon Audit of Radiohead North American Tours 2003 & 2006 can be found at .

If you are an artist and committed to greening a tour, you can use a green tour rider in all your contracts. A Greener Festival co-founder Ben Challis is a music industry lawyer and he has put together some clauses which could be added to a band’s rider – ensuring that concert promoters provide methods of limiting the environmental impact caused by events. Please feel free to download and include all or just some of these clauses in your rider – or change these to meet with your own views – but make sure you get proper legal advice before you use this material in a contract or other legally binding document! .

Julies Bicycle seminal First Step report can be found at and watch out for their new report and Touring Research which is due to be published at the end of March 2010 which will provide a quantative emissions profile of domestic and international touring  by the UK music and theatre sectors, will assess qualitatively the challenges and opportunities for greehouse gas emissions reductions through the tour supply chain and provide the latest science and guidance to artists and tour planners on key topics such as audience travel, carbon offsets, biofuels, catering, merchandise and sponsorship.

Global warming … its probably us …

A new study from the Met Office Hadley Centre, Edinburgh University, Melbourne University and Victoria University in Canada has concluded that there was an “increasingly remote possibility” that the sceptics were right that human activities were having no discernible impact. There was a less than 5% likelihood that natural variations in climate were responsible for the changes saying that the “fingerprints” of human influence on the climate can be detected not only in rising temperatures but also in the saltiness of the oceans, rising humidity, changes in rainfall and the shrinking of Arctic Sea ice at the rate of 600,000 sq km a decade confirming that man-made emissions were having an impact on even the remotest continent. The study found that since 1980, the average global temperature had increased by about 0.5C and that the Earth was continuing to warm at the rate of about 0.16C a decade. This trend is reflected in measurements from the oceans. Warmer temperatures had led to more evaporation from the surface, most noticeably in the sub-tropical Atlantic. As a result, the sea was getting saltier. Evaporation in turn affected humidity and rainfall. The atmosphere was getting more humid, as climate models had predicted, and amplifying the water cycle. This meant that more rain was falling in high and low latitudes and less in tropical and sub-tropical regions.  Mind you, climate change sceptics still have the controversies at the University of East Anglia and the IPCC ‘glaciers not melting’ story to keep themselves happy with, and a 5% chance that they are right …… but even if they ARE right – why not swap to sustainable non polluting energy sources anyway, why rely on imported oil, or coal, or gas? What soveriegn nation doesn’t want to be self sufficient and resillient, economically sound and safe and secure? Who does benefit from a high carbon economy …….. oh yes, the oil, coal and gas industries  …..