Elderflower Fields Green News
As we move into the new decade, we thought it might be a good opportunity to reflect on some of our achievements over the last few years, specifically in relation to sustainability, and to talk a little about our hopes and plans for the future…
Understanding our Impact
For the last two years, we’ve been working with the University of Brighton and supported two Environmental Masters students to measure the impact of the festival. The work that Mikaela and Millie undertook (some of it somewhat unglamorous like sampling waste streams at the festival…), has given us a quite detailed baseline set of data against which we can measure our future impact. This is especially important as we strive to meet our pledge as part of Festival Vision 2025, to reduce our overall carbon impact by 50% within the next 5 years.
The Story So Far…
Over the last few years, we’ve been gradually trying to lessen the impact that Elderflower Fields has on the planet and our local environment at Pippingford. Here are some of our headline achievements.
Back in 2016 we introduced reusable cups into all of our bars. We estimate this has prevented in the region of 60 thousand disposable cups going into the bins.
The Last Straw
In 2017 we stopped our vendors selling water in single use plastic bottles and banned plastic straws from all our bars. We’ve installed more mains water around the festival site to make it easier for people to refill their drinking bottles at the festival.
Travel Carbon Fund
We have for a few years now, used income generated through selling second vehicle passes to balance some of the carbon impact of customer travel to the festival (which accounts for about 80% of the total carbon impact of the event). This year we’ve teamed up with Ticketsellers and customers can add a small donation at the point of purchase to balance the impact of their travel. The vast majority of customers have chosen to do this and so far for 2020 they have already offset over 6 tonnes of CO2eq through the work of the Energy Revolution.
Partnering with Pippingford
We’re incredibly lucky to be able to call Pippingford Park our festival home. Primarily woodland with heathland, lakes and pasture, the estate is a stunningly diverse natural environment to be able to have access to. The non-pasture land is all a designated Site Of Special Scientific Interest and is in part designated Ancient Woodland.
Estate owner, Richard Morriss, has this to say about the ecological work being undertaken on the estate:
The wetland habitat is important for Dragonflies as one of the most diverse sites in the UK. The Dragonflies support a colony of Hobbies, there are no more than 2000 breeding pairs left in the whole of the UK. The Heathland supports a number of rare ground nesting birds such as NightJar with only around 4000 breeding pairs left in the UK, 4 pairs are on Pippingford. To protect these habitats we need to reverse the spread of invasive species in all habitats that are detrimental to the long term health of the more specialised species. This is most effectively achieved on the Heathland with natural grazing by Exmoor Ponies. The Woodland needs to be re-established in coppice rotation to create a mosaic of differing age regeneration to support a diverse population of birds. The work underway or completed includes creating grazing areas on Heathland by fencing appropriate areas and introducing Exmoor ponies. The first area of 100ha was done 10 years ago with excellent results. A new area of around 50ha has just been completed and more ponies have been introduced. The woodland coppice is slowly being cut in small areas and fenced to protect from deer whilst it re-grows. One lake has just been dredged to preserve dragonfly habitat and bankside trees have been partially cut back to let in light which dragonflies need.
There are grants available for this work however there is usually a shortfall of around 50% and this is where the income from Elderflower Fields has been particularly useful. Last year this income went directly into carrying out the work mentioned above. Soon we will be able to see this start having an effect. Turning around 70 years of declining wildlife takes time. Ravens are now back in residence after nearly 100 years of absence.
Looking ahead to 2020 and beyond, we are exited to continue our journey to become as sustainable as possible. Two of the areas we are focussing on in 2020 are as follows:
Waste Management and the Circular Economy
We are excited to be partnering with Veolia at this year’s festival to work with us as our main waste and recycling contractor. We’re still planning the details, but we are looking at ways we can reduce the total volume of waste generated at the festival, increase rates of recycling and certify waste once it leaves the festival site.
In particular we are planning to separate out compostable and mixed recycling waste from our vendors and with the help of Brighton University’s Green Growth Platform, we will hopefully be streaming some specific types of waste to be re-processed into new materials which we can use at the festival in future years.
EF Green Trader Award
This year we will be working more closely than ever with our vendors, most of whom already source ingredients from local producers and suppliers, to minimise the volume of waste and carbon impact of food and drink at Elderflower Fields. Part of this work will see the introduction of a new Green Trader Award which will assess the commitment which our vendors make to helping us become more sustainable and reward those who show exceptional effort in their approach to being environmentally friendly.
What can I do?…
Our Elderflower families are amazing. You guys are pretty engaged when it comes to helping us keep Pippingford tidy and minimising our impact on the environment. Many of you are doing these things already, but here are a few suggestions of ways in which you can help us on our mission to be as green as possible:
If you have space in your car, why not offer it to another family? Customer travel to and from the event is by far the biggest contributor to our CO2 emissions. Post on the Facebook event page here, or use a lift sharing site like Bla Bla Car or Go Car Share. And please try to minimise the number of journeys you make to and from the site and only bring one car per family…
Bring your bottle and cup
Use your purchasing power
Think about what you are buying when shopping and packing to reduce plastic use and consider what you bring to the festival. Food makes up around 20% of waste from the campsite areas, and a big chunk of this is avoidable by bringing less in the first place.
Resist single use
Especially items like glitter and glow sticks – Nature really doesn’t like them.
Offset your carbon
When buying your tickets, there is a tool to help you calculate your milage and a suggested amount to donate (thanks to so many of you who already have!).