Monthly Archives: September 2011

Eco-lites up the Pilton Party!

The annual Pilton Party, held in September at Worthy Farm as a big “thank you”  from the Glastonbury Festival to crew, staff, supporters, suppliers and local residents, was lit for the first time by  the amazing ‘ecolitrs’ – which Glastonbury say will become Festival standard issue next year. You can see the lights in the Mandy Briggs film from the Party here which featured headliners Plan B along with The Treetop Flyers (who won the Glastonbury Emerging Talent competition), Hot Rats and Magnus Puto.

20 Ecolite lighting towers were deployed at the Party but the Festival itself  currently has 175 lighting towers to illuminate car parks, camp sites and surrounding roads for the 5 day event using more than 16,000 litres of fuel. The Ecolite is approximately 75% more efficient than a traditional 1,000W lighting tower and will be equipped with dusk to dawn auto switching meaning that the lights will switch themselves on when it starts to get dark and turn themselves off again when it starts to get light. In addition to these savings the Ecolite can be run from another generator (using only 600W) or can be connected together running up to four additional slave lights from one unit.

In total it is calculated that by switching all 175 towers to Ecolite, Glastonbury would reduce their CO2 emissions by more than 63 tonnes. It would also mean that no refuelling would be required throughout the festival due to the 170 hour run time from a single tank cutting labour costs, additional transport costs and emissions.

Another benefit that has attracted Glastonbury to the Ecolite is the quite running generator that operates at only 83-86dBa LWA depending on specification, making it the quietest lighting tower in the world. Light pollution is also reduced by focusing the light through a patented prismatic lens meaning 80% of the light generated is focused on the desired area.


Mandy Briggs’s short film is here

And more on Ecolites here


Coldplay top headliners poll

Coldplay have been voted the best festival headliner of 2011, in an online poll conducted by BBC 6 Music. The band – who headlined Glastonbury and T In The Park – topped the survey with 22.7% of votes cast, breakfast show host Shaun Keaveny announced. US rock band The National came in second with 14.2%, while Muse were third with 13.9%. Coldplay’s drummer Will Champion told 6 Music playing festivals gave the band “a chance to win people over” and added “But there’s also a strong possibility that people have already made their mind up about you,” he added, “and no matter how well you play they’re not going to be happy about it.”

Picture of Coldplay at Glastonbury 2011 by Denis O’Regan

(C) 2011


Greg Clark,the minister at the centre of the row over plans to  radically reform the UK’s planning laws (admittedly rather bureaucratic at the moment) with a new default position of (basically) “anything goes” (I might be exaggerating,  but maybe not) is to speak at a the Conservative party conference to back the reforms – at an event sponsored by Taylor Wimpey – one of the UK’s biggest house builders! Six environmental bodies have joined forces to issue a letter to Clarke, conveying their concern over the government’s current planning reform proposals. In the letter, the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management, Royal Meteorological Society, Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management, Institution of Environmental Sciences, Arboricultural Association and Institute of Fisheries Management, challenge the government’s draft national planning policy framework (NPPF), warning that “the proposals, as they presently stand, are draconian in the extreme”. The groups continue to question the government’s planning guidance, which they say removes many safeguards established over generations, arguing this will leave the planning system ill-equipped to consider a range of strategic-level threats facing society, including climate change.

There have been riots at a Chinese factory that produces solar panels after locals complained that the factory was highly polluting and that toxic discharges have killed large numbers of fish. Residents in Haining in the Zhejiang province say that there had been police brutality in the efforts to silence their complaints. Cheng Hingming, deputy head of the Haining environmental protection bureau said that the factory, owned by Jinko  Solar Holding,  had failed to meet pollution standards despite official warnings.

The price of wood in the UK is rising dramatically as firms rush to generate power from biomass (wood, grass, food waste) – pushing the price up from £30 per tonne to near £50.  The UK government wants biomass generation to replace coal and gas generation.

Wales is introducing a country wide 5p levy for all ‘one use’ plastic shopping bags. A similar levy in Eire radically reduced the amount of bags used (and wasted). Most plastic bags are not biodegradable and take 500-1000 years to decompose.

Google is investing $75 million in supporting 3000 residential solar electrical systems across the USA.  Google is teaming up with Clean Power to offer finance that local installers can access for home owners. Its the latest in a string of investments aimed at reducing the environmental impact of Google. Google will own the panels that are installed  and receive the benefit of federal and state renewable energy subsidies.

The UK is facing its warmest September and October for 100 years with temperatures is Gravesend, Kent, on Friday the 30th September hitting 28.2C and temperatures in London expecting  to pass 30C. Horticulturalists have said that some plants which had begun to shed leaves for Autumn are now producing new growth and even flowers, and a farmer in Cambridgeshire has said that he now has a second crop of strawberries.

Police in the Brazillian Amazon say that they have arrested two suspects in connection with the murder of two rainforest activists who were shot in May. Jose Claudio Ribeiro de Silva and his wife Maria do Espirito Santo were killed on the 24th May – they were vocal in their opposition to illegal logging in the Amazon. The two suspects were arrested during a dawn raid in the jungle.

A Energy from Waste (EfW) plant transforming pig waste into power has been backed by the financial muscle of Google. The search engine giant, which invests in offset projects as part of its bid for carbon neutrality, has backed the new scheme designed by Duke University and Duke Energy.  Built on a pig farm in North Carolina in the United States the scheme turns animal waste into electricity, it also creates carbon offset credits for the energy company while the farm benefits from free electricity.

A major new competition has launched in a bid to encourage the development of carbon reduction technologies, with a grant fund of up to £4.5M available. The investment has been made by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) as part of its ongoing scheme to build its portfolio of technologies to help reduce CO2 emissions. The competition, which opens on 1 November 2011, will focus on innovative demonstration projects and aims to build on the success of its 2009 feasibility competition.  The final deadline for applications is 13 December 2011. For more information please visit:

Vehicles could be powered by orange peel waste in the future if a novel research project about to get underway proves fruitful. Researchers from the University of York will examine the potential of extracting biomass-derived chemicals, materials and fuels from the skin of oranges, using safe and sustainable chemistry. reports that a test centre for a building company has not only become energy self-sufficient but has in fact generated more than a 60% in surplus.  In only its first year of operation the Euro 3.5M centre for Wicona’s facade products, in Bellenberg, Germany, has shown outstanding energy results.  The centre, which provides in-house testing facilities for new products and project-specific facade solutions, features roof-mounted photovoltaic (PV) panels which generate more than enough power for heating, lighting and operating the entire building.

Costs for installing solar in the USA have dropped by 27% in the past year and a half, according to new research. The research found installing photovoltaic (PV) systems in the United States fell ‘substantially’ in 2010 and into the first half of 2011. The drop was revealed in the latest edition of the annual PV cost tracking report by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).

The NEC complex in Birmingham is aiming to reach zero waste to landfill by June 2014, following the success of recent on-site recycling initiatives. The complex, which spans a 611 acre site, includes the 20 exhibition halls inside the NEC centre and also the LG Arena. Together both venues attract around three million visitors a year. The complex as a whole is currently recycling 42% of its waste and aims to be recycling 50% by the end of 2013. In February 2009, this figure stood at 0%!. reports that Roger Sparling, the owner of the Devon Hayedown waste recycling business has been ordered to pay £6,302 in fines and costs for illegally disposing  waste on Bonfire Night in 2010 in Tavistock.  A member of the public reported a large fire at the waste site and the flames and large amount of black acrid smoke made the person suspect plastic or rubber was being burnt.  Environment agency officers visited the site and spoke to Sparling, who claimed the bonfire was a traditional November 5th celebration for his staff and family. Sparling runs a waste transfer station that adjoins an old landfill which is used to store waste materials awaiting recycling.

MPs on the Energy and Climate Change Committee are looking into the case for consumption-based greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) reporting in the UK. The committee, chaired by Tim Yeo, is looking into allegations that UK emissions are only “falling” because they are recorded on a production basis.  Production-based emissions reporting only looks at emissions produced physically within a particular territory. However, if the more thorough consumption-based accounting method was used it is, according to the committee ‘very likely’ UK emissions would be up.

BBC’s The One Show Lucy Siegle spoke about society’s relationship with waste in a keynote speech at Birmingham’s RWM exhibition, saying that there was still a lot of work to do around public perception and consumer responsibility. Siegle, a well known environmental champion and Observer newspaper journalist, said there was “so much mileage in waste” but that the industry needed to promote itself better to the wider world if it wanted to encourage people to see the value in viewing it as a resource saying “We all generate waste but are very bad at owning up to it. People view waste as a hassle, it annoys them … but consumers have a responsibility for what they buy and how they drive the market”. At the same event Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) called for the packaging waste recovery note (PRN) system to be strengthened to encourage greater levels of recycling and investment in reprocessing infrastructure. CCE’s commercial recycling manager, Nick Brown, told delegates: “I think the existing PRN system could be used as a much greater tool for good … it needs to be strengthened to act as a driver for change.”

Young people in the UK are deserting the car – the percentage of 17-20 year olds with a current driving licence fell from 48% in the early 1990s to just 35% last year. Road traffic figures for cars and taxis have also begun to fall from a peak in 2007. Motoring groups put the overall decline down to rising petrol; costs and the recession although some commentators ay that modern teenagers are not as interested in cars, preferring digital gadgets such as iPads, MP3 players and laptops. There are also different ways of ‘owning’ a car now, including shared ownership models, short term rental schemes  and initiatuves such as Streetcar, Zipcar and Whipcar, in some areas better public transport (especially national rail) and an increasing use of car pooling and car-sharing for journeys.

Ireland relies heavily on imported plastic recyclate for its raw materials, recycling less than a third of the plastic waste it generates, according to a new government study.  The Irish recycled plastic waste arisings study by rx3 found that while Irish manufacturers have a need and demand for recyclable plastics as raw materials, in 2009 less than a third of the 482,366 tonnes of plastic waste generated was collected for recycling. The report, the first of its kind to be compiled on the island of Ireland, found that plastics makes up 14% of total household and commercial waste produced.

Householders will now be able to recycle their used cooking oil which will be refined and fed back into the National Grid in a novel scheme introduced across Merseyside. Collection tanks have been fitted at the region’s 14 household waste recycling centres where the oil can be deposited. Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority (MWDA) and its contractor Veolia have teamed up with Living Fuels to implement the scheme. Living Fuels will collect the waste oil and refine it to produce a bio-liquid. This in turn will power engines to supply renewable electricity to the Grid.

Scottish and Southern Energy has confirmed it is looking to abandon plans to build a nuclear power plant in the UK. A SSE spokesman confirmed it is planning on pulling out of a consortium, which includes Iberdrola and GDF Suez, by selling its 25% stake – although said it may become involved again in the future.

Revenue of more than £50m this year has kept  photovoltaic (PV) designer and installer Solarcentury at the top of a renewable business league.   The London-based firm it been listed as the fastest growing private renewable energy company in the UK, for the second consecutive year, by the Sunday Times Tech Track 100.

NHS trusts and other healthcare providers need to start source-segregating their waste better if they are maximise recycling outputs. Historically the healthcare sector has been poor at recycling, with some NHS trusts estimated to be only achieving rates of 15-20% across their organisations. Procurement methods are thought to be partly responsible for this, with many hospitals managing their waste streams separately and not securing the best deal as a result.

SuperGroup, the owner of clothing brand Superdry, has started compacting its waste as part of a campaign to improve recycling operations at its distribution centre. As part of the works, materials are compacted using a baling press before being stored at its distribution site ready for bulk collection. This is in contrast to the company’s previous method of recycling which saw packing being deposited into a number of wheeled bins and collected loose on a daily basis – a system which created no financial benefit. According to SuperGroup, it now benefits from a financial rebate for the material collected and offsets some of its packaging compliance costs through the generation of packaging waste recovery notes from its own recyclable packaging.

Wales is now recycling or composting 48% of its municipal waste, showing an upward national trend.  The latest figures are for April – June 2011, an increase of four percentage points on the same period in 2010. The amount of residual household waste produced per person in Wales is also continuing to fall, from 70kg per person a year ago to 62kg. reports that a fifth of senior IT decision makers in the UK are not confident that all of their company’s redundant computer equipment is being diverted from landfill, according to new research. Despite the landfilling of e-waste being an illegal practice, the survey found that only 65% of respondents were ‘confident’ or ‘very confident’ that of all their unwanted IT equipment was not being disposed of in this way.

Bucks gets the Carbon Trust Award

Panellists at the 2011 Green Events conference at Bucks

Bucks New University has achieved the Carbon Trust Standard in recognition of measuring, managing and reducing its carbon emissions. From the AGF team, Helen, Claire, Luke and Amie are all graduates of Bucks and  Ben is still a visiting professor. Whats more, BNU head of Programmes Teresa Moore leads on our green research, has placed Bucks at the heart of the new GO Europe initiative and also arranged for BNU to  co-host this year’s Green Events and Innovations conference. So good for Bucks!

The University achieved a five per cent reduction in carbon footprint for the 2010-11 academic year, based on the average footprint for the previous two years. In the qualitative part of the audit Bucks scored 69 per cent, giving BNU a comfortable pass. It is great recognition for Buck’s achievements to date and demonstrates BNU’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions year on year.  .

Bucks is well on its way to achieving its target to reduce CO2 emissions by 50 per cent by 2020 (based on a baseline of 2005 emissions. The Carbon Trust Standard requires participant to keep reducing carbon emissions and to recertify every two years. So Bucks will have to continue the great work to date and keep reducing BNU’s impact on the environment.

Congratulations to Ian Hunter and the Estates team at Bucks

Silent Climate Parade Berlin – two days to go!

The Green Music Initiative are hosting a very special event in Berlin – and the the countdown is on … its only 2 days to the Silent Climate Parade! Contribute, demonstrate, silently,  quietly, and with (almost) zero carbon emissions!

Each of the 1,500 participants will have a silent disco – each with their own wireless headset  – dancing a quiet parade through Berlin on international climate action day. And more volunteers are needed! The music they dance to will come from DJ’s with the parade including Dirty Disco Youth and Sven Dohse [Bar25] who will travelling by electric car – all the way! Finally there will be a short closing rally which will held on Breitscheidplatz. if you are interested – this is video fron 2010

Its all on the  24 September 2011 at 12:00 clock – meet at Breitscheidplatz, near the Memorial Church!

More information can be found at:

The Greener Festival Awards 2001 – an update

Our 2011 Awards scheme is drawing to a close and we have received  a record number of entries and reviewed and audited some fantastic festivals this year. There really have been some brilliant events – green, clean, caring and sharing, and doing more and more to promote awareness about climate change and the need to adopt sustainable lifestyles and protect the environment.

To be honest, there have been just a few which were less than fantastic, but almost all of the entrants were attempting to do something to reduce their environmental impact and many were going an awful lot further in the fight against climate change, waste and pollution. Overall our environmental auditors have visited more than 50 events this year have sent
back some glowing reports. We hope to be able to announce the final Awards in October and the Awards will be given in four categories: Improving; Commended; Highly Commended; Outstanding. An overall UK winner will be announced at the UK Festival Awards on Tuesday the 15th of November 2011 at the Roundhouse in Camden, London.

We now have festivals in Australia, Europe, The UK and the USA taking part in the Greener Festival Awards scheme and we have seen yet another year of innovations, excellence and environmental good practice in the festivals sector at the many and varied festivals who take part in our Awards scheme.

Solar stage at We Love Green, Paris

We have seen a significant increase in the number of European festivals taking part – in particular with a big increase Spain, with some events such as SOS 4:8 in Murcia taking part for a second year but we had four other festivals such as the Dia de la Musica Heineken in Madrid and the San Sebastian Festival all entering for the first time. Helen was very impressed with Dia de la Musica saying the cohesive co-operation between production and the sustainability teams and the internal communications system delivers the green message to staff and suppliers alike. Penny came back from Paris with a glowing report on We Love Greenwhich looks like a super event, and Luke said he was more than pleased with his and Kareena’s audit of theOyafestivalen in Norway which already holds the ‘Outstanding’ award from 2010. Equally pleased were Helen and Amie G with their audit of the massive city based Malmofestivalen in Sweden and they were inspired by the complete ban of bottled water and provision of tap water at temporary sites throughout the city and subtle approach to conveying their environmental and lifestyle message to city audience through art and interactive activities including a sustainable fashion show, cardboard street stage, redesign your jeans workshop and a toy swap.

Elsewhere in mainland Europe we audited Rock for People and the Open Air Festival in the Czech Republic, both previous winners, a new entry from Ilosaarirock in Joensuu Finland, Welcome to the Future in the Netherlands and also Hadra in Franceanother previous winner of the Award.

In the USA, Bonnaroo entered the Awards scheme for the fith time along
with Lightning in a Bottle who entered for the second time – and this year we
had new entries from Austin City Limits festival and Lolapalooza. Our Awards co-ordinator in the USA, Lee, is stepping down this year and we have to say a massive ‘thank you’ to him for all of his support over the last two years.

Compost toilets at the Glastonbury Festival

In the UK ShambalaCroissant Neuf Summer PartyThe Sunrise Celebration and Wood Festival are all extraordinary beacons of environmental good practice and great new ideas. Of the bigger festivals, Penny was mightily impressed by Glastonbury’s Green Traveller initiative which actually reduced the number of cars driving to the site (hooray!) and Luke was delighted with The Isle of Wight festival’s year on year improvements and green initiatives. As well as Wood which Helen said was as beautiful and wholesome as ever, she was at Camp Bestival and was impressed by the clean site and provision for children – including green activities and kids compost toilets!

Also in the UK we had some new entries from the Radio 1 Big Weekend in Carlisle, our first BBC entry, the Greenbelt festival at Cheltenham Racecourse and Festibelly in the New Forest, alongside entries from stalwarts of the scheme and previous winners such as The Cambridge Folk Festival. Leicester’s Summer Sundae WeekenderLounge on the Farm, Grassroots in Jersey, WaveformBestivalT-in-the-Park andSplendour in Nottingham.

Recycling at Peats Ridge 2011

The Awards in Australia have already been announced and the winners of the 2011 Greener Festival Award down under are Bluesfest (Commended), Falls Festival (on two sites – Outstanding), Peats Ridge Festival (Outstanding), Woodford Folk Festival (Outstanding), Splendour in the Grass (Commended), Island Vibe (Highly Commended) and WOMADelaide (Commended). Well done to all, and our special thanks to Amie G who organises the Awards scheme in Oz.

At the end of the year we will have our first ever South American entry with Universo Parallelo in Brazil. This is great news and a new continent for us! On that note, Claire is off to Colombia at the end of this month to give a talk in Medellin at a Circulart 2011 conference focusing on green initiatives in the arts, and cultural strategies to promote sustainable events, at the invitation of the Colombian Department of Culture and the City of Medellin (

Its been a great year for festivals, albeit one that has been hampered by the global economic recession which affected festivals around the World, and some dramatic weather that has caused the recent tragedies at the Indiana state Fair in the USA and Pukklepop in Belgium. The role of festivals and music in promoting sustainable lifestyles and fighting climate change cannot be underestimated. So thanks to all of our participating festivals – and to conferences and events who have invited us to share or vision – this year we visited and spoke at gatherings in Germany, France, the UK, Germany, Belgium, Finland, Hungary, Malaysia and Columbia spreading the word on environmentally friendly events.

Watch out for the full Awards results in October.

Photos: ‘Solar Stage’ at We Love Green, Paris and ‘Compost Loos’ at Glastonbury, Somerset by Penny Mellor. ‘Kids Loos’ at Camp Bestival, Dorset  by Helen Wright and ‘Recycling ‘ at Peats Ridge, New South Wales by Amie Green .

The Greener Festival Awards scheme is supported and sponsored by Robertson Taylor, insurance brokers.

UK Festival Awards 2011 – voting opens

The UK Festival Awards have opened up voting for the five categories that will be chosen by festival goers at the launch of the Awards in London and the categories are: Headline Performances Of The Year, Anthem Of The Summer, Best Breakthrough Artist, plus Best Overseas Festival and Fan’s Favourite Festival. All five awards will be presented at the Camden Roundhouse on 15 November, alongside other ‘best festival’ categories which will be chosen  by a panel of judges, whilst other gongs such as  Agent Of The Year, Concession Of The Year and  our own Greener Festival Award  – will be judged by separate panels.