Industry report reveals extent of UK festival diesel emissions

UK: With diesel emissions becoming an increasing public health concern, World Environment Day on June 5 was focused on air pollution. In conjunction, the sustainability management company Hope Solutions – alongside power management specialists ZAP Concepts – have brought together events industry experts to produce an action research report on the subject. Thanks to a collaborative effort between hundreds of major UK festivals and events, the report marks the start of a major industry backed initiative to reduce diesel emissions and move to sustainable energy sources to help fight toxic air quality.

With data from A Greener Festival, Julie’s Bicycle, and Powerful Thinking, plus over 20 million data points of electronic monitoring analysed by ZAP Concepts, the accompanying factsheet is a snapshot of the impact of diesel use at UK events and how it both contributes to the climate crisis and constitutes a public health emergency in of itself.

Key points from factsheet are as follows:

  • The UK event industry uses an estimated 380 million litres of diesel annually, equivalent to over 150 Olympic swimming pools full of diesel
  • Diesel use in generators at events equates to nearly 1.5% of total UK diesel use and over 8% of all ‘red’ diesel use
  • 1.2 million tonnes of CO2e is released from diesel emissions in generators, approximately the same level of emissions as Malta annually
  • Emissions from static diesel generators at events are equivalent to adding 220,000 additional cars to the road every day
  • It would take a forest four times the size of the West Midlands planted every year to offset these emissions

    Luke Howell, Director of Hope Solutions, said: “Our findings show event sites in green spaces have worse air quality than inner-city areas, indicating a huge hidden contributor to the growing public health epidemic from air pollution. We are releasing this report to open up the conversation with the industry to effect positive and practical change without diminishing customer experience. For the organisers, every litre of diesel not used is saving money and contributing to the fight against climate change.”

    Rob Scully, Head of Operations at ZAP Concepts UK, said: “On average the UK event industry could reduce diesel consumption by 40% without risking any loss of power, any blackouts or any detrimental effect on the quality of the events. Venue managers and event managers should take professional advice in order to properly direct their power contractor and ensure that available power is matched to actual demand, and where possible, introduce renewables and other alternatives. The show must go on but it could go on in a far more sustainable manner, without risking people’s health and without risking the planet.”