Carbon Neutral Policy Announced

George Irvin is proud to announce the Irvin Leisure policy on Carbon Emissions. George says “We undertake that as a company we will be Carbon Neutral in 3 years, therefore by 31stMarch 2010 we are committed to achieving this aim. It is too easy to try and opt out of this subject by claiming it is too expensive, or that there are special reasons why we cannot do anything about the way we work, but too many people take this view and we will not follow their path.

“However we will achieve this without passing on the costs to our customers, whether at our public festivals or at corporate parties. We will do this by properly managing our work in future and by staged reductions in emissions starting from today. We will seek advice and help, and take advice and help, to achieve this because where we go all other funfair companies will be able to follow. Our first step was to make this commitment, and below here is the programme that we intend to take. I make no apology for the length of the full piece but the summary at the start of the article will give the outline and I urge you to read the full item because I will welcome your comments to me at

“Showmen are resourceful and imaginative, and if we take on this challenge we can be responsible for the introduction of innovations equal to those of our forerunners who moved from horse transport to traction engines, and then on to petrol and diesel and who introduced exciting attractions at their fairs. Our challenge is to match their brilliance with that of our own and take our full part in this necessary fight against Global Warning. Whilst I make this statement on April 1st, the only April Fools are those who deny the seriousness of this task and who refuse to accept this challenge. We will lead in this in our industry and I hope others will follow, then we can learn from each other and really make a difference.”


  • April 1st 2007
    Launch of policy and start date for emission reduction
  • April 2nd
    Implementation of administrative practices to reduce waste
  • April 3rd
    Commitment that new purchases of equipment shall take account of environmental concerns and renovation work shall also reduce power needs.
  • April 4th
    Allowing access to all our fairs for environmental education.
  • April 18th
    Finish of Environmental Audit, available for inspection
  • April 24th
    Start of work with local authorities to reduce waste in dealings with them
  • May 3rd
    Introduction of recycling facilities at public fairs
  • May 10th
    Introduction that all items sold at fairs shall be recyclable.
  • May 18th
    Start of Gold Standard Offset practices
  • January 2008
    Commencement of pilot scheme of adaptation to Bio Fuels
  • Summer
    Subject to success of pilot, adaptation of generators to Bio Fuels
  • Winter
    Subject to success of pilot, adaptation of transport fleet
  • Spring 2009
    12 month programme passed on to all contractors to adapt their equipment to Bio Fuels
  • March 31st 2010
    Full achievement of Carbon Neutral operation.

The first stage is to undertake a full environmental audit of all our functions and to commence a programme to offset the carbon emissions. We shall have completed this audit by April 18th and will announce our first stage for offsetting emissions caused since the policy start date of April 1st. Greenpeace have offered to advise us on achieving the Gold Standard for Carbon offsets and we look forward to receiving their help on this with a target of May 18th to commence the offsetting.

We have already begun to look at the environmental impact of our work, and list the outline findings below, because offsetting is not enough, we want to make an actual reduction over the three years to achieve this.

Fairgrounds are heavy users of fuel and unfortunately contribute to emissions from not only their operation on sites as they run rides, but by their reliance on transport to move from place to place. After all, the giveaway in the name is the Travelling part of Travelling Fairs! We must look to adapt the vehicles and the generators needed to produce power on sites so that they use Bio Diesel instead of normal diesel. Some of the vehicles are old, because the fairground rides are built into the structure of the vehicle that carries them and so time will be needed to adapt these to use Bio fuels, but research and changes are underway that will help us achieve this. We can look at energy saving lighting on site and find imaginative ways of decorating our fairs without using scarce resources.

However there are other functions that must be considered, such as administration in the office and generation of paper is part of this. For obvious and proper reasons local authorities and other agencies have concern about safety at fairs, and when we travel around we have to photocopy piles of papers to be taken into Council offices where it sits for months, normally pointlessly. We wish to work with local authorities to find ways in which they can check safety certification without the need to churn out reams of pointless papers. We must recycle more thorough our offices and our homes as should everyone, and find ways of saving energy by not using “standby” on electrical equipment. We must cut down on unnecessary car journeys to meetings and review our personal car fleet.

When we advertise our fairs we place poster boards around to tell the public we are coming. We shall design advertising that is reusable, and at all times work with local councils to find ways within the advertising regulations that enable us to advertise without detriment to the visual environment and without danger to the public.

Then there is refuse collected on site. Fairs generate considerable detritus from their operations, and whilst we are careful in collecting such rubbish and removing it from the beautiful sites in which we work, we are not as careful as we could be in separating recyclable materials from general rubbish. We should also take care that all refreshments sold are in recyclable containers and that there are plenty of receptacles around for such materials to be placed in by the public.

Finally, and with most exciting potential, is that we hereby offer any and all organisations, local or national, space at our fairs to promote environmental concern. We will work with them to adapt the fun games at our fairs so that they educate whilst they amuse.

The timetable is tight, but we will deliver. For those of you reading this who may not be aware, when you visit George Irvin’s Funfair at, for example, Hampton Court Palace, most of the rides there are owned and operated by other Showmen who are self employed business people. They operate under contract to the Irvin Organisation, but are responsible for their own equipment provided that it meets our requirements. As we work through the process of adapting our equipment to take Bio Fuels, we shall pass this information on to those Showpeople and assist them to get their own rides to the standard and operation systems we seek.

This cannot be done overnight, because we are aware that neither the public or our corporate clients are willing to pay more because the fair is more environmentally sound; they will admire our aims and then take their business to cheaper alternatives! That is why this is a three year programme. However our carbon footprint within the analysis will take into account the emissions from all the operators in any Irvin run event, and will be part of our Carbon Neutral target.

Then there are local authorities to educate. As stated above, we wish to work with authorities so that we do not have to do 500 photocopies of safety paperwork each week when we move from site to site. We shall seek to have such paperwork inspected and then returned to us, one set of copies to last a year. When you consider that Irvin Leisure is a 12 month of the year operation you can imagine the reduction in paper used, and wasted, that this will enable.

We also have to work more closely with local councils on displays of advertising materials. We advertise under the 1992 Advertising Regulations, which allow the display of fairground and circus posters on streets provided they are not too large, do not cause danger to drivers, and are removed immediately an event is completed. By doing this we have one set of boards with 95% of the information on them which we use time and time again, just changing the dates and the venue. This is a great saving on previous systems which printed new posters at each site, which were thrown away afterwards. Most authorities understand and allow this, but some do not and seek to prevent this lawful display of advertising requiring us instead to produce thousands of advertising leaflets to be distributed locally. This is very wasteful in resources because such handouts are then thrown away, useless after one week of a funfair. Councils are short-sighted in seeking to implement policies that they believe are going to help the environment whereas in reality they are causing more harm. Fairs have to advertise, which is why in 1992 the Control of Advertising regulations were published. We want to work with all authorities to find proper ways of allowing us to work but without detriment to local areas to fulfil our aims, and we believe their intentions, or reducing environmental damage.

Bio Fuels are a comparatively new innovation and we shall experiment with their use to establish how our equipment can be adapted to use them. We cannot have circumstances where we are powering up a Big Wheel to find that the fuel system fails, leaving our customers dangling albeit in an environmentally friendly way. We will work with other bodies, statutory and voluntary, to introduce bio fuels and our target for this is 2008 for our own equipment, by Spring 2010 for all equipment used by operators at our events. If this can be brought forward, it will.

This is a very ambitious programme, and whilst implementing this we will be continuing to provide great value entertainment for everyone at our public fairs and private functions. We would welcome ideas and comments on this, by email This is a new task for us. With your help we can achieve this.