The Guernsey Air Display Foundation (GADF) has committed to an action plan to reduce the environmental impact and carbon footprint of the annual Battle of Britain Air Display.
As a member of the British Air Display Association (BADA), the Foundation, along with other displays around the UK, is committing to the BADA Environmental Sustainability Charter and taking steps to create more sustainable events in the future. The charter focuses on five key points:
- Eliminate single-use items
- Think green with your contractors
- Facilitate public transport & active travel
- Offset aviation emissions
- Promote sustainable aviation
Foundation Counsellor, Gary Elson, who is also the sustainability lead at the BADA says: “Many displays in the UK take place on an airfield or have a defined spectator area, and some are multi-day events, so the impact of traffic movement, food waste and single-use plastics is the largest contribution to their carbon footprint.”
“Guernsey differs being a relatively short 2.5-hour display with spectators spread across the seafront, so these considerations do not have as much of an impact, which means here, the largest emission contributors are the aircraft.”
Organisers of the Guernsey event are exploring every option to reduce the display’s impact whilst preserving the event itself.
“One of the aims of the display is to inspire the next generation of pilots, engineers and aerospace professionals who will be essential to solving the very challenges we are facing. The display is also a way to remember and honour aviation heroes; it’s much-loved by all generations of islanders,” says Natalie Davidson, Event Director at Black Vanilla.
The organisers are investigating the options to use contractors and display teams who are all taking steps to tackle the climate challenge. For example,
- Rich Goodwin’s muscle bi-plane team is working with an Orkney-based company to develop a greener fuel;
- The Strikemaster aircraft flying on sustainable aviation fuel;
- The Blades, who operate their own carbon offsetting scheme; and
- The Yakolevs, who are developing a sustainable alternative to smoke oil which is being adopted across the industry.
In addition, the organisers are booking display assets that have a shorter transit time to Guernsey and hence will use less fuel.
‘The aviation industry is making considerable sustainability strides with the development of carbon-free fuels and ‘greener’ smoke systems but there is still a lot of work to be done in this area,’ says Mr Elson.
‘Until greener fuels are a viable option, we will need to look at carbon offsetting and are working with ESI Monitor to measure and offset consumption,’ says Mrs Davidson.
‘The other piece of the jigsaw is “insetting,” and we are exploring local initiatives.’
The team will also move away from a printed programme, and the reception at Castle Cornet will build on the steps already taken to use local produce and source wines from Europe rather than further afield, and encourage active travel to the display zone.
Lindsay de Sausmarez, President of the Committee for Environment & Infrastructure says: ‘I’m encouraged that so much thought is going into reducing and mitigating the Guernsey Battle of Britain Air Display’s carbon impact. I welcome the fact that climate change considerations are driving innovation across the whole aviation sector, and while clean fuels and more sustainable technology are still very much a work in progress, I’m glad that in the meantime there is a sharp focus on minimising emissions and offsetting the impact of this popular local event.’