Lord's has become the first UK cricket ground to run completely on clean energy, as new figures reveal that extreme weather linked to climate change has caused £3.5m worth of damages to the sport.
The 200-year-old ground’s owners, Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), announced the deal as part of the group’s overarching sustainability programme, which has seen a 7% fall in electricity since 2010.
The new Warner Stand at the ‘Home of Cricket’, due to open in April 2017, will include innovative features such as a solar PV roof and a state-of-the-art water collection and recycling system.
MCC chief executive Derek Brewer said: “It is important that all organisations embrace sustainability and I’m very pleased that Lord’s has become the first cricket ground in the country to run on 100% renewable energy.”
Figures released today (7 February) show that the December 2015 winter floods caused more than £3.5m worth of damage to 57 cricket clubs in the country. The England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has since provided flood-affected clubs with more than £1m in emergency funding, with an additional £1.6m set aside for 2017.
“These statistics released today illustrate the effect that changing weather patterns can have on cricket, and the ECB deserve a lot of praise for the support they give clubs across the country that are so badly affected by extreme weather,” Brewer said.
Climate stops play
Today also marks the launch of the Show the Love campaign from the Climate Coalition, which includes WWF-UK, the RSPB, and the National Trust. The scheme aims to show that cultural hotspots, such as sporting venues, could be lost to climate change unless progress is made to tackle the issue.
The MCC states that increased rainfall is causing significant loss of fixtures in recreational cricket and impacting on the professional game. Cricket is not the only sport to highlight concern about the effects of global warming; the National Hockey League (NHL) has previously warned that the future of ice hockey is under threat from climate change and water scarcity issues.
Commenting on the Lord’s renewables announcement, Wells MP James Heappey said: “No three words are more depressing for a cricketer than ‘rain stopped play’; and while being rained off is an occupational hazard, the suggestion that climate change is making it happen more often will be unwelcome to anyone who loves our great summer sport.
“We do however have defences against climate change, and the way to get on the front foot is to build a clean energy economy that doesn’t produce more and more carbon pollution. Lords is showing us the way, and it’s fantastic that the ‘Home of Cricket’ has broken the mould and committed to running on 100% clean energy.
“With the cost of solar panels and battery storage collapsing faster than the Australian tail before Broad and Anderson, this is an option that’s increasingly attractive to cricket clubs up and down the country as well.”