Sunday’s third T20 match between England and New Zealand at Edgbaston marked a significant step towards a more sustainable future for cricket in the UK. The 25,000-seat stadium was powered entirely by wind, hydro, and solar energy for the day, a practice set to continue throughout September.
In an effort to reduce its carbon footprint, the event featured ‘seed paper’ cards for fans, which could be planted at home to grow wildflowers. Electric lawnmowers and rollers were used instead of traditional gas-powered equipment, and red meat was excluded from hospitality menus. Sustainable packaging made from seaweed lined spectators’ food items.
One unique aspect of the event was the comprehensive calculation of its carbon footprint, which included every watt of electricity used and every prawn sandwich made. A previous trial during T20 Finals Day at Edgbaston revealed that 79% of emissions were related to spectator and staff travel. To address this, free shuttle buses were provided, and on-site car parks were closed.
Climate change poses a significant challenge to cricket, with approximately 40% of cricket grounds in England and Wales at risk due to the changing climate. Edgbaston is not alone in its commitment to sustainability, with Lord’s using wind power since 2017, and The Kia Oval’s new Galadari stand covered in solar panels. Surrey and Warwickshire have pledged to become Net Zero by 2030, and Gloucestershire is another county leading the way.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is expected to release a new sustainability plan later in the year, having provided £3 million in funding to clubs across the country for sustainable initiatives. The ECB aims to encourage other counties to follow Edgbaston’s lead in adopting eco-friendly practices.
Looking ahead, innovations such as solar panels on stadium roofs and sustainable materials in construction may become more common in cricket venues. Spectators are also expected to take responsibility for their environmental impact by considering their travel choices. Change is on the horizon, and it is seen as a necessary step to secure the future of the sport in the face of climate change.
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