The city’s events shouldn’t harm the environment

Next week, the city’s councillors will discuss a petition calling on event organisers to eliminate the use of single-use plastics by 2020.

Councillor Phelim MacCafferty
Councillor Phelim MacCafferty

More than 3,450 people have signed this petition– sending a clear message that residents want to see lasting change in how events are managed in our city.

Green councillors have long argued for higher sustainability standards for running events in Brighton and Hove and have repeatedly called on the Labour council to make eliminating single use plastics a condition of event permission.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

We know that more environmentally friendly events are possible, with trailblazers such as the Paddle Round the Pier festival. Last year it became the UK’s first compostable beach festival – with all cups, cutlery and plates no longer made from single use, disposable plastic.

Events like this have led the way in promoting our marine environment– but it is our environment which is suffering, and the often modest amount profit making companies are charged by the council goes nowhere near mitigating their impact. I know of one festival which charges double the cost of the fee paid to the council to run just one stall. Our public parks and open spaces are heavily used: the sheer numbers of events held on Hove Lawns has led to concerns from residents about the impact of noise, and the closure of open space which, in the city centre, is many people’s garden.

A much clearer charging schedule in Brighton and Hove is needed, where we’re not curtailing community or arts events but also not being short-changed by events run solely for profit. And as the council consults on its Outdoor Events Strategy this week, we repeat our call for an Environmental Impact Charge.

Based on a fairer fee structure for events, this would see the charges for larger, profit making events used to help maintain our parks and open spaces, fund additional waste resources and support our community groups. The message from residents is clear– events that don’t cost our environment are the future. Greens will continue to call on the council to set higher standards– so that our communities and our environment benefit.

Councillor Phelim Mac Cafferty Convenor of the Green Group of councillors on Brighton & Hove City Council