Monthly Archives: September 2012


“Green jobs at risk from ‘Tea Party’ Tories” – OK, sounds like the thread of our blog “The excellent economics of green” which basically took a swipe at the muddled right wing approach that seems to suggest green investment isn’t good for the economy – and the ongoing frustration that we have that too many right wing politicians may talk about ‘common sense’ or business sense, but actually have precious little knowledge or experience of either. But it’s not from us – it’s from  Lib Dem Energy Secretary Ed Davey  who criticised a ‘Tea Party’ tendency amongst Conservative MPs who question climate change and green investment – unsettling an industry that could do much to lift the UK out of the economic doldrums.  More here – in the Observer .

Shell is facing mounting criticism over its failure to clear up two large oil spills in the Ongoniland area in the Niger Delta. The UN, Amnesty International and the Nigerian Government have all voiced their concerns but lawyers acting for 11,000 affected villagers say that “a comprehensive clean up is yet to get under way and and the creeks remain extremely polluted”.  More here .

Over 2,000 people had to be evacuated as forest fires sweep through areas of Valencia in Eastern Spain with a 10km front of fire. 6 municipalities were affected and 600 fire fighters were involved. In the UK persistent heavy downpours have swamped much of the country with some areas experiencing a whole month’s rainfall in just 24 hours. With a number of flood alerts in place, almost four inches, of rain fell in some areas the Met Office said in the worst September storms for 30 years. And then the rain moved to Spain – areas of southern Spain previously crippled by drought faced massive storms and record rainfall – some areas being deluged by 20cm + in 24 hours resulting in flooding and widespread damage.

One million Irish buildings need to undergo energy upgrades by 2020 in order to meet EU legal requirements, according to a survey. The survey was carried out by the Sustainable Energy for the Rural Village Environment (SERVE), an EU funded project based in Tipperary. Findings also indicated that the economic crisis means fewer people feel that the environment is a priority.

The introduction of wirelessly charged electric buses in Milton Keynes could cut 500 tonnes of tailpipe CO2 emissions and reduce bus running costs by £12-15k a year.

Less than one-third of textiles thrown away each year in the UK are recovered for reuse or recycling, according to latest research.  New studies released by WRAP suggest that if just 10% of ‘black bag’ textiles waste was recovered, it could unlock £23.8m in revenue.

A Scottish whisky distillery is set to become the first in the world to have its waste by-products converted into biofuel in a pilot demonstration project. Tullibardine, an independent malt whisky producer in Perthshire, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Celtic Renewables which has developed the technology to produce biobutanol from the process.

High-speed rail networks have the potential to deliver massive carbon benefits but only if backed by bold Government policy initiatives and the right development choices, concludes a report commissioned by three UK environmental bodies. report that carbon emissions from making a trip by high-speed rail 2 (HS2), if it was already built, would be 73% lower than making the equivalent journey by car and 76% lower than flying. Those are the headline figures in a report on HS2 carried out for the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), RSPB and the Campaign for Better Transport.

Innovative ideas around the circular economy will be rewarded under government plans to accelerate progress in this area. The Government has announced it will invest up to £1.25m to improve the resource efficiency of UK companies in working towards a low-carbon economy. Tied with this, the Government’s Technology Strategy Board (TSB) will run a national competition and offer funding for feasibility studies into the re-design of products, components and systems to retain material within the economy over several cycles of use. More at

Summit Shapes Up

The Summit, the UK’s live music conference, has asked A Greener Festival to put together a green panel looking at new innovations, environmental campaigns and exciting new developments. Confirmed panellists include AGF’s own Ben Challis along with Love Your Tent co-ordinator Rick Storey, Ali Owen Thomas from Firefly Solar on power solutionsand an update on the Zero Waste Events campaign, inspired by London 2012,  from board member Mark Linehan.

Other panels at the Summit (8th and 9th October 2012 at the Raddison Blu Portman Hotel, London W1) include Maximum Exposure which will look at the coverage of live music in the media, and especially on television; The Music Chamber which will feature politicians across the table from live music business leaders to discuss issues facing the industry: Computer Says Yes  where pioneers of online and new tech solutions for marketing and managing live will explain how their services and products work; Meet The Agents, an open forum with both international operators and emerging star agents, discussing how an act gets started, the process of growth from clubs through festivals to arenas, how to break globally and how to make it last; Fields Of Gold which will look at the economic pressures on festivals as well as isues of inclement weather and the recent stage collapse tragedies; The Dynamic Ticket where panellists will explore new developments in the ticketing market; and Masters Of The Universe where some the country’s top agents and international promoters explain how they help to open new markets, develop acts’ careers internationally and maintain sustainability within the live sector. They also tend to share a tale or two! Confirmed speakers and guests include John Giddings (Isle of Wight / Solo), John Probyn (Live Nation), Steve Strange (X-Ray), Geoff Meall (The Agency), Claire O’Neill (Association of Independent Festivas and AGF), Rob Challice (Coda) and Emma Hogan (ITB).

The Summit also hosts the 2012 UK’s Live Music Business Awards on the evening of the 9th October.

Nearest Tubes: Bond Street (Central and Jubilee Lines), Baker Street (Bakerloo, Circle, Jubilee, Hammersmith & City Lines), Marylebone mainline station (Bakerloo Line)  and Marble Arch (Central Line).

Railway stations: Marylebone Station (10 minute walk) and Paddington Station (20 minute walk)

More at


AIM Music Awards nominations out

The nominations are out for this year’s Independent Music Awards, organised by the Association Of Independent Music are out and it was confirmed that Edwyn Collins will take the Outstanding Contribution trophy while Mute’s Daniel Miller will take home the Pioneer Award. Other nominations include Hardest Working Band Or Artist: 65daysofstatic, Cancer Bats, Enter Shikari, Frank Turner, Skinny Lister; Best Live Act: The Cribs, Dub Pistols, Enter Shikari, The Prodigy, Frank Turner: The PPL Award For Most Played Independent Act: Adele, Arctic Monkeys, Caro Emerald, Madness, Travis; Independent Album Of The Year: Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls, Enter Shikari – A Flash Flood Of Colour, Liars – Wixiw, Future Of The Left – The Plot Against Common Sense, Rustie – Glass Swords; and Best Independent Festival (The Golden Welly): In The Woods Festival, Truck Festival, Y Not Festival, Leefest, Bearded Theory.


Hop Farm and Guilfest organisers both go into administration

Two more UK festival promoters have come off the rails, with Vince Power’s listed company Music Festivals plc calling in administrators as of September 23rd.  Previously the company had said that it has unable to secure new funding, and that it was had asked the Alternative Investment Market to suspend trading in its shares. The company owns the UK’s Hop Farm festival and Spain’s Benicassim, The Feis Festival in Finsbury Park, London and a new festival called Costa de Fuego, also in Spain. The company suffered particularly from poor ticket sales at the Hop Farm, although the 2012 edition of Benicassim was also not sold out, prompting Power to lend the company £750,000.  In a statement yesterday the firm said: “The board of Music Festivals has resolved to appoint an administrator and once that appointment has been agreed a further announcement will be made in due course”. Power owns 23.29% of the shares and his family another near 20% stake. COO / Finance Director Jon Hale owns 5%.

Also just announced, Tony Scott’s Scotty Events, promoters of the 20,000 capacity Guilfest, has also gone into administration, following poor ticket sales for this year’s event. In an announcement on Facebook Scotty Events said: “Scotty Events Ltd regret to announce that Guilfest has ceased to trade due to poor ticket sales at this year’s event in July. We assess that this was down to the worst weather conditions we have experienced in history of the festival, combined with intense competition presented this year from other events. On-going matters now lie in the hands of the insolvency practitioner Leigh Adams LLP”. Launched, in 1992 the family friendly festival has become a key fixture on the UK festival calendar. Founder Tony Scott told the BBC that poor ticket sales this year – due in part to locals holding off buying tickets in order to see how the weather turned out – had left the festival with debts of £300,000, pointing out that over the weekend the weather was indeed dire and the site very muddy, and that “The Olympics were on, a lot of people were going to that. Farnborough Air Show was on the same weekend as us for the first time this year. There was Tom Jones playing up the road at Sandown Park, Bruce Springsteen was playing in London, and there was an awful lot going on around our weekend, as well as the bad weather” adding “I’d love to see Guilfest keep going, but I think it’s got to be somebody with deeper pockets … to make sure it goes through”.

Campsite carnage is unacceptable

Helen writes …..

Once again I am back from an incredibly busy summer of outdoor events and festivals singing the same sad tune.

It is APPALLING the state that some festivals are left in at the end of a weekend of frivolities. Audiences have not bought the right to discard their belongings and leave them for someone else to clear up and dispose of. This despicable culture is growing. While a handful of festivals are are going to pain staking efforts and cost to deal with the serious issue other organisers need to stand up and admit the problem and do something radical to stop it.

One festival that I spoke to over the summer collected more than 100 tons of discarded camping equipment last year. The campsites this year on Monday after the festival looked as though the festival was still happening. An eerie site. It was an emotional experience. Rubbish blowing everywhere, things burned and damaged, perfectly good tents, clothes and food just left. The festival-goers had literally got up on Monday morning and walked off the site in the clothes they were wearing carrying nothing and leaving food, bags, clothes, sleeping bags, mats, chairs, tents… everything. There was barely a light green patch of grass where even one person had taken their belongings home. My feeling stood amongst the carnage was that these people shouldn’t have the privilege to camp here and call this beautiful green land their home for 3 days and behave in this way. As a result of this behaviour, once again there is an unacceptable and unnecessary volume of camping equipment and materials buried in landfill. Multiply this by the many major festivals that happen in the UK and also some EU countries, we are facing a very serious and grave social and environmental issue that needs to be addressed.



Photo  Claire O’Neill

Glastonbury cool at No 7

The Glastonbury Festival has risen to No 7 in the chart of ‘cool brands’ in the UK – based on a survey of 3,000 consumers and a panel  of 39 designers, style magazine editors and other experts. Judges are asked to rate brands based on their uniqueness, originality, style, innovation, authenticity and desirability and include Bestival promoter Rob da Bank, musician Carl Barat, DJ Gemma Cairney,  fashion writer Susanna Lau, Rizzle Kicks and singer and film director Plan B
YouTube, in at No 2, and The BBC’s iPlayer in at No 6 pipped Glastonbury to the honour of the highest new entrant to the chart, and another new entrant, Virgin Atlantic, came in at No 8.

The Coolbrands 2012 top 20
1. Apple
2. YouTube
3. Aston Martin
4. Twitter
5. Google
6. BBC iPlayer
7. Glastonbury
8. Virgin Atlantic
9. Bang & Olufsen
10. Liberty
11. Sony
12. Bose
13. Haagen-Dazs
14. Selfridges
15. Ben & Jerry’s
16. Mercedes-Benz
17. Vogue
18. Skype
19. Nike
20. Nikon


Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has promised a nuclear free future for the country by the 2030s but the pledge has prompted scepticism from opposition politicians and business leaders who fear job losses, a loss of technology exports and a rise in the cost of power. Until the Fukushima nuclear disaster Japan was planning to build 14 new nuclear power stations to produce 50% of the country’s electricity by 2030. It will now move to fossil fuels and Japan will invest £400 billion in renewable energies which currently produce just 1% of Japan’s power (excluding hydro-electricity) – but in the short term Japan will miss it’s agreed Kyoto targets to cap greenhouse gas emissions.

A new fair trade oboe is being made by Marigaux, with wood sourced from community owned sustainable forests in Tanzania set up by Sound and Fair. The forests are homw to the rare  blackwood tree, used in oboes and clarinets. African Blackwood is an endangered species and is often illegally logged.

The list of animals on the Endangered Species List continues to grow – with giraffes, zebras, howler monkeys, hummingbirds and peacocks and  joining polar bears, giant pandas, rhinos and snow leopards.

Sue Perkins has been confirmed as the host for the Sustainability Leaders Awards on December 5th this year at London’s the Grange St Paul’s Hotel, announcing the winners and welcoming them on stage to receive their awards.  Full details including the entire shortlist and details about the gala black tie dinner and award presentation are available here. Comedian and TV presenter Sue  was the face of the Love Food Hate Waste ‘Freezer Expedition’ campaign, aimed at cutting food waste by encouraging householders to make the most of their freezer, both by freezing food that might otherwise be thrown away and by using forgotten food buried in the nation’s freezers.

Virgin Atlantic plans to recycle four million plastic bottles a year for use in its new amenity kits for airline passengers. The company has been working with one of its supply chain partners, MNH Sustainable Cabin Solutions, to develop the technology to make this possible.  The kits have been designed with sustainability in mind and are made from 100% recycled PET (rPET) material which is derived from a yarn created by smashing, melting, polymerising and spinning the PET bottles. Virgin says the resulting material has a 90% lower carbon footprint than nylon and can be recycled again at end-of-life. Any unused amenity kits will be collected for reuse. Elsewhere in business, Sainsbury’s is looking to enter into partnerships with councils to boost customer recycling facilities at a third of its stores in the UK, Waitrose has announced plans to open a third energy centre next year powered by waste wood in a pioneering “closed loop”  model and Brewery firm SABMiller is embarking on a pioneering partnership to improve food security through waste reduction and optimisation – looking to produce food from agricultural waste. Finally, the first sale of a robotic recycling system powered by artificial intelligence has been made in a deal worth over 1m with Dutch firm Baetsen Recycling and will be installed next February at its construction waste recycling plant in Son, in the Netherlands.

The US wind power market is under threat from rival energy sources, particularly cheap natural gas, and a threat to the tax credit – with thousands of jobs at risk.  The US Commerce Department has also put tariffs on steel turbine towers from China after finding they were being sold for less than the cost of production. A $1 billion subsidy schgeme for green energy will expire on December 31st and may not be renewed this year after what had been agreed by both Republicans and Democrats split on political grounds – Barack Obama wants the subsidy to stay – Mitt Romney is against – as is the oil industry.

The British public could save over £300m a year on their water heating costs by reducing their shower time by two minutes, according to research from E.ON.

Lord de Mauley has finally been confirmed as the new resource management minister at the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) – two weeks after the UK Government’s cabinet reshuffle.

An EU energy efficiency directive, approved by the European Parliament, will enforce mandatory energy saving measures that could save the region billions of euros per year.  The energy-saving measures include renovating public buildings, energy-saving schemes for utilities, and energy audits for all large firms, which could cut energy consumption by 20%, saving the EU €50bn per year.  EC Rapporteur Claude Turmes said: “This essential legislation is not only crucial for achieving our energy security and climate goals, it will also give a real boost to the economy and create jobs”.

The UK’s Met Office has launched a wind production forecast service specifically designed for wind farms and wind energy production.

A survey conducted by warranty provider SquareTrade of 2,000 US iPhone users found that, based on the sample size, Americans have spent an estimated $5.9 billion on repairing and replacing broken phones over the past five years. That amount includes cost of repairs for minor issues and replacements for phones that were broken beyond repair as well as insurance deductibles on phones that were still under a warranty. More on gadget good sense here