Making London events more sustainable

Here at City Hall we are proud to be making our events more sustainable.

Why events benefit London

Events can bring major economic and social benefits to London. They can raise the city’s profile, present a positive image to the world and bring Londoners together from different communities, creating a sense of shared interests and culture.

Most importantly, major events boost London’s economy - creating opportunities for local and regional economies and attracting new visitors and investors – as well as to Londoners. This is why it is important to us that we work to improve our events sustainability performance.

What we are doing

All City Hall events are delivered in line with our GLA Events Sustainability Policy, which commits to: 

1. Use energy efficiently and reduce carbon emissions from energy consumption
2. Reduce waste
3. Reduce the environmental impact of transport use
4. Support and promote the GLA Food Strategy
5. Promote and encourage diversity and inclusion
6. Respect and preserve our national heritage
7. Encourage the London Living Wage

These objectives set out how our events will help support mayoral strategy across a wide range of issues affecting London, and help create a sustainable legacy. 

We believe that these objectives also complement and support our duty to ensure that Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square is preserved as a vibrant public events space for future generations.

The GLA Events Sustainability Policy aligns with the GLA group Responsible Procurement Policy and the GLA Sustainability Policy.  Together, these ensure the GLA leads by example to deliver the Mayor’s vision of a more sustainable city for Londoners.

Disabled viewing area sign at Feast of St George on Trafalgar Square

Our venues

We are responsible for managing Trafalgar Square, Parliament Square and City Hall, where we hold some of our events. City Hall has many sustainable features, such as solar panels on the roof, natural ventilation, 100% green electricity and gas supply, and water from a borehole which is used to cool the building is then re-used for flushing the toilets. 

You can book either of these spaces for your events see Book Trafalgar Square, Parliament Square and Hire City Hall.

More about our aims

We chose our event sustainability objectives based on what is important to us and whether we can make a difference.

Below are examples of what we have done or are doing on our objectives.

1. Use energy efficiently and reduce carbon emissions from energy consumption

  • On Trafalgar Square we are aiming to use generators that are hydrogen or hybrid power and all other generators must be compliant with Stage 3A and fitted with a particulate trap. We intend to have at least 50% alternatives to diesel power by summer 2017.
  • The Christmas Tree on Trafalgar Square now has LED lights, reducing the amount of power that it uses by 28%. This year we have also installed a timer which reduces the amount of power by a further 11%, a total saving of 39% on previous years.

2. Reduce the amount of event waste

  • The Citizenship Ceremony changed the programme size from A4 to A5.
  • The Christmas Tree lighting ceremony printed 1500 instead of 2000 programmes from the previous year.
  • Nearly all the equipment is hired or reused for the events on Trafalgar Square and only minimal waste is generated from the event production.
  • City Hall recycles 80-90% of waste and has zero waste to landfill.
  • Trafalgar Square has zero waste to landfill.

3. Reduce the environmental impact of transport use

  • We have provided more comprehensive information on our website on how to get to our events, encouraging the use of walking, cycling and public transport.
  • Africa on the Square had 86% of visitors travel to the event by public transport and only 3% travel by car.
  • Africa and Diwali events were held on the same weekend and shared the same stage which reduced the amount of production vehicles by almost 50%.

4. Support and promote the GLA Food Commitment

  • Free drinking water is available at all of our events.
  • Catering stalls for events on Trafalgar Square must now meet a minimum requirement for sustainability in order to trade on the square.

5. Promote and encourage diversity and inclusion

  • The GLA Events for London team are working towards the Charter of Best Practice for Access Bronze Award.
  • Feast of St George, Diwali and Africa on the square all had hearing loops, British Sign Language and disabled viewing areas. Access information was provided on their event listing on the website.

6. Respect and preserve our national heritage

  • All event management plans for Trafalgar Square now include a plan to protect the square from damage.

7. Encourage the London Living Wage

  • All our direct contractors are now paying the London Living Wage to their staff when working on our events and other GLA activities.

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