Monthly Archives: October 2011


46 festivals across the UK, Europe, Australia and North America have been awarded our prestigious Greener Festival Award for their green efforts in reducing their environmental impact 2011.

To achieve the Award, each festival must complete a detailed 53 part questionnaire, submit relevant information such as a carbon footprint, traffic plans and waste and recycling management schemes, and then have an independent environmental audited to complete the Awards scheme.  We are extremely pleased with the results which took place against “very difficult financial pressures in some parts of the festivals sector” and “challenging summer weather” in both hemispheres.  Ben Challis, Co-founder of A Greener Festival said “one highlight was the real reduction in car use at many festivals as people swapped to coaches, trains, shared cars or even cycled. A downside was the thousands and thousands of tents and other perfectly reusable camping equipment left behind at festivals in the UK – “what a mess and what a waste”.  The Awards scheme is sponsored by Robertson Taylor who specialise in insurance for live events and the music industry.

The winners of the Greener Festival Award 2011 are:


Croissant Neuf Summer Party (England)

Falls Festival, Lorne, Victoria (Australia)

Falls Festival, Marion Bay, Tasmania (Australia)

Isle of Wight Festival (England)

Lightning in a Bottle (USA)

Oya Festival (Norway)

Peats Ridge (Australia)

Shambala (England)

Sunrise Celebration (England)

We Love Green (France)

Wood (England)

Woodford Festival (Australia)

Highly commended

Bestival (England)

Bonnaroo (USA)

Co-operative Cambridge Folk Festival (England)

Glastonbury Festival (England)

Grassroots (Jersey)

Lollapalooza (USA)

Malmo Festival (Sweden)

Island Vibe (Australia)

SOS 4:8 (Spain)



Austin City Limits (USA)

Calgary Folk Music Festival (Canada)

East Coast Bluesfest (Australia)

Festibelly (England)

Heineken Dia de la Musica (Spain)

Ilosaaririock (Finland)

Hadra Trance Festival (France)

The Open Air Festival (Czech Republic)

Rock for People (Czech Republic)

San Sebastián Quincena Musical (Spain)

Sonisphere (England)

Splendour Festival (England)

Splendour in the Grass (Australia)

Summer Sundae Weekender (England)

T-in-the-Park (Scotland)

Waveform (England)

Welcome to the Future (Netherlands)

WomAdelaide (Australia)


Camp Bestival (England)

Download (England)

Greenbelt Festival (England)

Hard Rock Calling (England)

Lounge on the Farm (England)

Radio 1 Big Weekend (England)

Wireless (England)

Helen Wright, the Greener Festival Awards Director said  “This has been another amazing and inspiring year for the Greener Festival Awards and I would like to thank everyone who has contributed – from our own dedicated environmental volunteers to green waste teams, traders, event organisers, production teams, interns, sustainability managers, audiences …. the list is endless. Events that have chosen to adopt a commitment to reduce their own and their audience’s environmental impact are setting a high standard, and a green festival is one that many festival goers now expect. Creative initiatives, individual dedication and organisational commitment are making real a difference in the battle to succeed with the environmental challenges posed by promoting an event. The Greener Festival Awards are now in their fifth year and the results this year demonstrate the measurable progress that our participating festivals have made by embarking on this journey. Amazing! Thank you.”

Steven Howell, Sales & Marketing Director of Awards scheme sponsors Robertson Taylor said “We are delighted to continue to support A Greener Festival and the amazing work they do with the UK festival industry.  We have negotiated insurance premium discounts for any festivals that adhere to the initiatives suggested by A Greener Festival and each year more and more festival organisers are benefiting from this, thereby saving money at the same time as helping to save the environment. Congratulations to all those organisers achieving the Greener Festival Award this year and especially to the overall winner – we look forward to partying with you at the UK Festival Awards 2011. “

The overall winner of the UK’s Greener Festival Award 2011 will be announced at the UK Festival Awards gala ceremony at the London Camden Roundhouse on Tuesday 15th November 2011 along with a host of other awards for the UK’s best and favourite festivals. James Drury, Managing Director of the UK Festival Awards said “Festivals can have an important impact on people’s opinions, and it’s inspiring to see how many lead by example on green issues. Recognising the hard work of festivals in making their events more environmentally-friendly is an important part of the UK Festival Awards and I’m excited to find out who’s won!”



A new study from climate scientists and funded by climate change sceptics has shown that global warming IS happening. The Tea Party nutters will be rather annoyed by this but there again their philosophy of ignoring energy security and relying on oil from outside of the USA always looked bonkers despite global warming. What’s wrong with sustainable power??? Anyway, I digress, climate sceptics had been concerned that moving climate stations close to urban centres had skewed results in favour of finding global warming, but the study Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project (BEST) from rural climate recordings showed that Earth’s temperature had risen by 0.9C. The study was part funded by oil billionaire Charles Koch.

A shake up in the financial incentives available for solar power in the UK may take the shine off solar panels – and may well have a negative effect on land based wind farms too. But off-shore wind and tidal projects will benefit from the changes. RenbewableUK said that the 10% drop in subsidies for solar and on-shore wind would mean a significant fall in the number of wind turbines planned around the country. And whilst the government says that it remains committed to green, the UK’s only Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project has ground to a halt after four years of publicly funded work. The CCS Consortium, made up of ScottishPower, National Grid and Shell, has been scrapped after the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) decided against going ahead with the construction phase of the test scheme.  The project, based in Longannet in Scotland, was the only one remaining in the DECC funded competition to produce a commercially viable CCS project.

A very good leader in the Observer newspaper on the 23rd October says that Now is not the time to renege on green pledges: “Climate change urgently demands that we overcome cultural, social, political and economic barriers to act together to cushion its impact. That requires strong leadership and long-term vision ….. it is unfortunate that domestically, even as the climate change sceptics receive a drubbing, the coalition appears to be travelling away from the proactive and bold measures that are required. At the Conservative party conference last month, the chancellor, George Osborne, boasted that he had insisted on an opt-out clause for carbon reduction targets ….. and last week a £1bn carbon capture and storage demonstration scheme was cancelled. A further dulling of the coalition’s green sheen has come with the announcement that subsidies for households to install solar panels are to be drastically reduced. Discussions are taking place about how far to cut the small-scale “feed-in tariff” which pays households and companies for energy produced. This could mean a fall from the current level of up to 43p per kilowatt hour to as little as 9p per kWh, a move that will offer almost no incentive to adopt a different style of living.” More at

New research from the Carbon Trust says that turning down heating by one degree could save businesses and public sector organisations £35 million each year.

The 2°C Challenge Communique, calling on governments around the world to take action to “secure a low carbon-emission economy that is more resilient, more efficient and less vulnerable to global shock” has been published. The communiqué is published ahead of the 17th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Durban in December, had 192 signatories at the time of writing this story, up from 185 at the point of publication. They include Anglian Water Group, Thames Water, Wessex Water, EDF, BP, Shell, National Grid and Bord Na Mona.

Wales has built a new heavy duty road bridge made of 100% recycled plastic in what is being claimed as a European first.  The 90-foot Thermoplastic bridge, which is suitable for heavy goods vehicles, is made up of 50 tonnes of waste plastic and spans the River Tweed at Easter Dawyck in Peeblesshire, which forms part of the historic John Buchan Way. It was built off-site and assembled in just four days by a team from Glendinning Groundworks and 10 Field Squadron Royal Engineers. Being made from plastic, it requires no painting or regular maintenance.

IKEA has trialled a new reuse initiative with the Furniture Reuse Network (FRN) on hard-to-dispose-of products, including sofas, mattresses and kitchen appliances. Under the scheme, customers decide if they would like to have their old furniture taken away when they have their new furniture delivered from IKEA. The retailer will then make a like-for-like exchange.

The University of Brighton has appointed DS Smith Recycling to introduce separate food and wood waste collections across its Sussex campus to increase recycling levels. The Waste is generated across the University’s 30 sites – including faculty buildings, halls of residence and student union bars used by 23,000 students and 2,600 staff – and will be dealt with in the majority a a recycling facility in Croydon.  DS Smith Recycling has been targeted to improve the university’s 25% recycling rate with a number of initiatives and training sessions. As well as separate food waste collections and segregating wood waste produced by the architecture and rrt departments, used cooking oil will be recycled. More specific and occasional waste streams will be collected on an ad hoc basis including WEEE, hazardous and confidential waste

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond announced an £18m boost for marine renewables on the same day it was announced he is to be the recipient of an international climate change award. The investment will be used to establish a wave and tidal commercialisation fund to help develop Scotland’s first commercial wave and tidal power arrays. It forms part of the £35m provided to enterprise agencies by the Scottish Government over the next three years to directly support the marine and tidal industry including planned projects in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters. Speaking yesterday, Mr Salmond said: “I am delighted to announce an £18m commercialisation fund which will help developers to unleash the power of Scotland’s seas, as part of our biggest financial commitment to date of £35m for this sector. Mr Salmond had been selected as the recipient of the third South Australia International Climate Change Award. Previous recipients are former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2009 and Quebec Premier Jean Charest in 2010.

WaterAid has marked 30 years of bringing clean water, sanitation and hygiene education to the world’s poorest countries at its Annual Supporters’ Meeting in London. Speaking at the event to celebrate the water charity’s 30th anniversary, WaterAid chief executive Barbara Frost said the charity had “an awful lot to celebrate”, but added that “there is an awful lot still to do because of the scale of the problem out there”. However, Ms Frost added that it was “remarkable” that despite the economic downturn WaterAid has continued to increase its donations by raising £50.8m in 2010-2011 – up from £43.8m in 2008-2009. WaterAid has attributed its growth to support from well-known figures and organizations such as the Prince of Wales, the Glastonbury Festival, Ofwat and several of the UK’s water companies.

Green Music News

AEG is planning to build a ‘carbon neutral’ stadium in Los Angeles. The $1.2 billion venue in Farmers Field, close to AEG’s Staples Center, which AEG say will be the most environmentally friendly and sustainable stadium in the World and AEG CEO Tim Leiweke said that the company had “focussed during the last four years on working with some of the most respected environmental organisations in the country to create a blueprint for the stadium”. Former President Bill Clinton praised AEG for their “mission to marry design, innovation, social responsibility and community engagement, resulting in a measurable impact for future generations”.

Festival Loo, the specialist in environmental sanitation at events, is launching a new liquid waste treatment plant for the 2012 season. The new plant uses bacteria which can eat up to 225,000 litres of human waste from toilets, showers and catering every 24 hours. The unit, which is bio-diesel powered, reduces waste to a 5% sludge that can be used to fertilise farm fields, and 95% water that can be discharged into local water courses. The unit substantially reduces waste management costs and waste haulage costs.

Event organisers are being warned to make sure they are prepared for the ban on organic waste going to landfill in the UK within the next two years. Kevin Brewer, from Grundon Waste Management, interviewed in AAA, comments “the biggest issue from a collection point of view is contamination of the waste stream with food. There is a need to educate the public when they dispose of it” warning the organisers will have to work hard to separate organic waste from recyclables and other waste.

Folkert Koopmans, boss at European promoters FKP Scorpio, has said that in 2012 the Southside Festival will provide free public transport across Germany within the price of the ticket saying that the company already had trialled the scheme at Chiemsee Summer Reggae Festival and that they planned to roll the concept our accross all of FKP Scorpio’s festivals in Germany.

Don’t forget to register for  GREEN EVENTS EUROPE – November 2 and 3 in Bonn:

Cloud cuckoo travel?

Tiago Barras, an architect from New York, has come up with what looks like a very eco-friendly alternative to planes for air travel – floating across the world on a ‘cloud’. Barros entered a competition in the US focussing on the future of high-speed railways, and submitted his ‘Passing Cloud’ idea, which he explains thus:

‘The Passing Cloud is an innovative and environmentally friendly method of transportation that doesn’t require expensive steel tracks or concrete highways. It is made of a series of spherical balloons that form the shape of a cloud. Its inner stainless steel structure is covered with heavy weight tensile nylon fabric. During the journey, It moves according to prevailing winds speed and direction at the time of travel. Since it moves with the wind, no wind is ever felt during the trip, offering the passengers a full “floating sensation”.’

Would-be passengers climb to the top of the ‘cloud’ by way of a giant ladder, and would disembark the same way, with no guarantee of destination or arrival time, according to Wow! And double Wow!

Image: Tiago Barras



americaMap 100m water rise

North American East Coast after 100M water rise from global warming

Parisian leaders  have wheeled out the first of the city’s blue, bubble-shaped cars  in what aims to be one of the largest self-service electric car schemes. The Guardian reports that anyone with a driving licence will be able to pick up one of the four-seater electric “Bluecars” for short journeys around Paris, dropping it off at any battery point. The Autolib service follows the French capital’s success with Velib, the self-service bike scheme. The €235m (£202m) project is the brainchild of the city’s Socialist mayor, Bertrand Delanoë, to deal with traffic, pollution and the nightmare of parking. He hopes it will cement the city’s reputation for innovative new green transport. More than half of Parisians do not own a car.

UK Feed-In Tariffs (FITs) have been too successful and future reviews will be ‘crucial’ to its future success.  That is the conclusion of the Renewable Energy Association’s (REA) technical director Stuart Pocock, speaking at the Energy Solutions exhibition London Olympia. In his speech, Mr Pocock outlined the role of FITs in the promotion of sustainable energy in the UK, while also comparing the UK’s progression in renewable energy with the rest of Europe. However the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has warned that the multi-million pound domestic solar panel business could be the next big consumer misselling scandal. With over 150,000 homes installing panels each year, OFT is concerned by rogue traders and cowboy installers who are using hard sell tactics and misleading information about the benefits of Feed In Tariffs with vulnerable consumers.

An attempt to disrupt the first flight by a UK airline to be powered by biofuels ended with three naked protesters being arrested.  The Thomson Airway’s flight was hailed by the industry and government as a huge leap forward for sustainable aviation. But a string of environmental groups, including Plane Stupid who were behind the stunt, have attacked the scheme’s green credentials. Three activists from the group mingled with passengers before the launch at Birmingham airport, before stripping off their clothes to reveal slogans criticising the trial.

Npower has launched what it claims is Britain’s first energy tariff, designed to support the uptake of electric vehicles (EV) by offering owners cheaper charging rates. The ‘juice-e’ is a certified green energy tariff will provide electric car owners with off-peak electricity charges when charging their EV overnight and will be available across Britain to anyone who has a charging point at home. In addition, for every unit of electricity used by a juice-e customer npower has said it will put back an equivalent amount into the grid from renewable energy sources.

Eco-manufacturer Remarkable has extended its retail contract with the Eden Project by stocking a larger range of products in-store featuring its re-launched packaging range, made from recycled drinks bottles and card.  Remarkable has been stocking its recycled products in the gift shop since the attraction first opened. Items include pencils made from recycled CD cases, pencil cases and mouse mats made from recycled tyres, and geometry sets made from biodegradable corn starch.  Eden Project Gift Shop buyer, Tammy Barclay said that sourcing attractive products that are recycled or made from natural and sustainable products are high on her agenda, and described the Remarkable brand as “a perfect fit” for the Eden Project.

A pioneering £1.2m green skills training initiative has launched in an effort to tackle critical knowledge gaps in the renewables industry and boost the UK’s low carbon economy. Set up by energy trade association RenewableUK in partnership with the Government, the Renewables Training Network (RTN) aims to provide training in the UK’s renewable energy industry, helping to create more than 77,5000 new jobs in the wind, wave and tidal industries and supply chain within the next ten years.  Funding for the scheme has been provided by businesses in the renewables sector, with £600,000 being collectively provided in support of the project.

New research allows scientists to predict how much future pollution can be removed from the atmosphere by trees.  The work, by scientists at the University of Southampton, claims to show for the first time how much pollution could be removed from energy intensive industries in the future. Focusing particularly on London’s trees the work, which is due to be published in next month’s Landscape and Urban Planning journal, also shows how trees improve air quality by filtering out pollution particulates, which can be damaging to human health.  According to the research urban trees in the Greater London Authority (GLA) area take out somewhere between 850 and 2000 tonnes of particulate pollution (PM10) from the air every year. The research found that the targeting of tree planting in the most polluted areas of the GLA area and particularly the use of a mixture of trees, including evergreens such as pines and evergreen oak, would have the greatest benefit to future air quality in terms of PM10 removal.

High-density housing is not an insurmountable barrier to Londoners recycling more of their waste, according to a report released by the London Assembly. The Waste not, want not study says that while high-density housing does affect recycling performance, it does not prevent a borough from being able to recycle more. Rather, it points to lack of storage space and difficulty in transporting materials to collection points as being the main problems. Although the capital has improved recycling performance in recent years, most boroughs fail to meet the average rates achieved across the UK. Recycling rates also vary widely across London with some boroughs achieving rates of more than 40% while others fall below the 2007 target of 20%. And a new report from the Green Alliance says that the UK must place greater emphasis on recovering and recycling materials, and also improve resource efficiency and the durability of consumer products. The long-awaited Report Reinventing the Wheel: a circular economy for resource security  examines the advantages and disadvantages of using pricing to improve the circulation of three crucial major resources – metals, phosphorous and water.  The Green Alliance is calling for a more circular use of these resources in the economy, which it argues would avoid some of the damaging, environmental impacts of extracting them as well as avoid the negative impacts of generating waste.

Famous Grouse scotch whisky is set to be sold in lighter packaging weighing only 340g – a 14% weight reduction previously not thought possible in the production of premium spirit bottles.  The  prototype, developed by Edrington, hails a technical first for the bottling industry and will be tested in a selection of Scottish supermarkets this autumn.  Edrington’s director of technical services, Mike Rose, said: “We set out to prove that it was possible to produce a glass bottle under 400g which still supports premium features like engraving and embossing and can cope with the speed of our production line, which runs at up to 600 bottles per minute. However, reports that Highland Distillers, which produces The Famous Grouse and The Macallan whiskies,  has been fined £15,000 after pleading guilty to failing to comply with the conditions of its water use licence following a diesel spill into a nearby watercourse.  The spill, which resulted in the discharge of 4,000 litres of diesel fuel from the Highland Park Distillery in Kirkwall into an unnamed tributary of the Crantit Canal, was found to breach conditions in the licence and cause environmental damage.

Electrical retailers and distributors can save hundreds of pounds a year by taking advantage of a new free WEEE collection scheme, set up by kitchen appliance manufacturer Amica.  Amica is offering electrical retailers and distributors a free collection and disposal service for electrical products, and will also collect any associated packaging for recycling.  Under the arrangement, retailers will no longer be required to be members of The Distributors Take Back Service or pay fees to the organisation, which can represent a saving of around £500 a year. reports that the Environment Agency (EA) has developed a new water quality testing service in a bid to improve the standard and efficiency of water monitoring in England and Wales.  The National Water Quality Instrumentation Service (NWQIS) is expected to help the EA meet its water quality monitoring requirements for groundwater and surface waters under the European Water Framework Directive (WFD).  A wide range of instrumentation is currently used by EA officers, however the upgraded system will allow it to centralise its equipment and reduce the variety of instruments used, providing greater uniformity of monitors and measurement units.

AIF summer survey needs you!

For the past three years the Association of Independent Festivals have been conducting research into audience activity, experience and spending habits at independent festivals within the UK. This research tracks trends and highlights the importance of our thriving independent festival scene ensuring it can grow from strength to strength. The results also benefit independent festivals by providing quantifiable evidence of their significance to local and regional economies as well as tourism.

By filling out the survey not only will you be supporting your favourite independent festivals but you will be in with a chance of winning 2 tickets to the festival you choose to complete the survey for. Bring on next summer!

To fill out the survey and be entered into the prize draw please click here:

Green Events Europe – should YOU be there?

Green Events Europe promises to be the most important pan-European conference looking at the live events sector in 2011. Following on from last year’s successful debut, the Bonn based conference features a host of experienced and leading figures in the sustainability movement, and will cover a range of important practical topics looking at sustainability and environmental good practice at events.

You can find out more and register at