As part of our sustainability drive and themed ‘Green Week’, we have been speaking with Edgbaston’s Head Groundsman, Gary Barwell, to find out about the projects he is currently engaging with to contribute towards achieving our goal of becoming the most sustainable cricket stadium in the UK.
What steps have you already taken to become more sustainable?
We are currently in a changeover period to electric mowers to reduce fuel consumption, emissions and cost. Despite the obvious environmental benefits, the noise reduction these machines provide to the operator, but in general, in and around the ground is another huge positive of this changeover.
There is a cost implication of this which unfortunately means we are not able to switch over all machinery immediately, but in the next five years we will be looking to get more and more electric mowers in use.
There has also been a recent shift to use more natural products, such as seaweed, to treat the ground, reducing our use of fertilisers and pesticides considerably. This has partly been due to the availability of these on the market and new regulations put in place, but also a conscious effort by ourselves to put in place a biological programme rather than a chemical one.
Many of the current steps we are taking are achieved simply by forward planning. We are making sure that we use our resources in their entirety, ordering bulk deliveries, to reduce on plastic packaging, that we can store and make sure we are managing our usage. Also, we are ensuring we get regular green waste collections so that all grass clippings and other materials are being recycled correctly.
The placing of our sprinkler systems has also led to us using water more efficiently and being able to water the square for up to two days by turning them on for less than 10 minutes. With water from the outfield also naturally running into the River Rea, we have been quite successful so far in using water more efficiently.
What projects are you looking to put in place in the future to help reach our aim?
As part of the electric move, my ambition would be that all machinery that is available to be electric by 2025. This includes working closely with our suppliers to convert our rollers to electric, which is something that isn’t currently available to us.
In terms of efficiency, irrigation of the ground is massive. We are looking at putting a water system in place over the coming years that will allow us to collect the water from the outfield, purifying and recycling for reuse. This coupled with a further ground-wide solar panel project should allow us to maximise our energy efficiency and recycling.
I am also currently looking to upgrade the lighting rigs we use on the pitch to make them economical. Using these improved rigs should help use reduce the resources we use and treatment the ground requires, creating an overall more sustainable method of maintaining the ground.
Click HERE to read more about our Edgbaston Pledge for a sustainable future.