Blues asked to go green for the day

by Graeme Lamb. Published Thu 28 May 2009 12:12
Everton fans are being asked to consider a greener route to Wembley

Fans of Everton football club are being asked to go green as they take the road to Wembley on Saturday. Around 30,000 people are expected to make the journey from the North West to London for the FA Cup final against Chelsea.

The trip is more than 200 miles by road for fans travelling from Liverpool, and Liverpool City Council’s Year of the Environment programme is encouraging them to catch the train, arrange a car share or hire a bus wherever possible.

Councillor Berni Turner, a leading member of the scheme, said: “Around 30,000 Everton fans are travelling to Wembley on 30th May and how they get there will have an impact on the environment. By going down on the train or travelling as part of a group, they will help reduce pollution and carbon footprint. I’d ask them to do their bit for this special year.”

Dr Andrea Collins of Cardiff University researched the effect on the environment of the 2004 FA Cup final, held at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. She calculated that the impact per spectator for the match, held between London-based Millwall and Manchester United, was approximately seven times greater than that of the average UK resident with regard to the carbon footprint.

Collins suggested to the Football Association at the time that the price of admission should include a train or bus ticket, but it is not an idea that has so far been implemented.

Football is indisputably a high-resource activity in terms of the environment. On any given Saturday during the football season, hundreds of thousands of fans travel up and down the country to support their teams. Further hundreds of thousands of products are consumed at the grounds, producing mountains of waste, and power-sapping floodlights are in frequent use. And that is without considering the potential impact of high viewing figures both in private homes and on large screens at public venues.

Increasingly, football clubs are looking for ways to reduce this environmental impact themselves and, in these days of high wages for footballers, to cut their energy bills in the process.

In 2007 Manchester City built a wind turbine to provide most of the electricity for its new stadium at the Eastlands, and the club has even been able to sell on some of the energy generated.

Ipswich Town asked its fans to make individual pledges in order to offset the approximately 3,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide it produced each season as part of its operations, and in May 2007 became the UK’s first carbon neutral football club.

Arsenal’s modern Emirates Stadium has been designed to maximise daylight through windows in order to minimise the need for artificial lights.

However, if there were an award for an eco-friendly football stadium, it would probably not be found in the Premiership at all, but instead at the home of lowly non-league Dartford FC, currently playing in the Isthmian League.

Since 2006 the club’s Princes Park stadium, which was built in less than a year, has received a number of plaudits and commendations for its eco-friendly build. The stadium has been designed to be totally sustainable in terms of electricity and the club encourages the use of public transport to get to the ground as much as possible.

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