Ilkley Carnival Environmental Measures

Ilkley Carnival Environmental Measures

Ilkley Carnival has been brought to our town for decades thanks to the efforts of a small team of volunteers.

The event receives no public funding, costs a minimum of £25,000 to run and holds a series of insurances, a strict health and safety policy, traffic closure permissions and has numerous other requirements to comply with. Our volunteers spend months liaising with Bradford Council, West Yorkshire Police and Ilkley Town Council to ensure a safe, well-managed family event for our community and our visitors.

This independent status means any loss that the carnival makes has to be covered by the committee which, while mindful of the objective to deliver a fun and a fund-raising annual event, must consider logistics and deliverables within its means.

Every year, the Ilkley Carnival committee explores how to improve its performance in line with local, national and global events and responsibilities and we are delighted in 2022, to be focusing on ‘Our Planet’ in our theme and by continuing our commitment to our social and environmental responsibities.

We have looked at all aspects of the Carnival and where we can we have tried to reduce our carbon footprint and become more environmentally friendly. As with all businesses, organisations and communities this continues to be a work in progress and for 2022 includes:-

• Recycling – we do need to have a skip on site for the general waste produced. We used to simply hire a skip and not think about it. For the last four Carnival’s we have used Aireborough Skip Hire of Yeadon to hire our skips and they have also become a main sponsor of the event. As a result we have a close working relationship with them. Aireborough carefully segregate our skip into recycleables and renewables. As a general rule they recycle about 80% of the contents of skips. We don’t have a specific figure for the Carnival skip but we believe it would be in excess of this general figure due to what we know goes into it. These figures are well above the official figures for recycling from UK households which I believe show only 45-50% of refuse is recycled. Further information on Aireborough Skip Hire recycling can be found at

• Plastic – we have tried to cut the amount of plastic on site, but this isn’t easy. In particular, finding an alternative to plastic cups is difficult. We have looked at other options and paper cups were an obvious alternative. However, to work properly they need to be wax coated. When we investigated we found there were only two places in the country which were able to remove the wax so that the paper cups could be recycled. Both the cost and transport movements prohibited this alternative. Therefore, whilst we have plastic on site we ask trade stands using them to use recycled and recyclable plastic.

• Equipment – we used to hire in equipment such as marquees, etc. Now the Carnival owns the majority of equipment used, with the exception of larger items such as fencing that we are unable to store. This has reduced our carbon footprint. The same equipment is also used by other local groups for their events. In a typical year up to 20 local events used Carnival equipment.

• Programme – we do have a paper programme, providing both information on the event and giving prominence to advertisers and sponsors, without which the Carnival wouldn’t happen. This year we have reduced the amount of programmes produced and for the very first time will be offering an alternative with a programme that can be downloaded to your phone. Details of how to download will be publicised at entrances to the Carnival and on our website. The printed programmes that we give out are printed on recycled paper using biodegradable inks and in the event we do have programmes left at the end of the event these are all recycled.

• Parking – there is no official parking for the event and we encourage the use of public transport.

• Medals – each child participating in the parade receives a medal as a memento of the event. We have traditionally used a metal medal. This year we have sourced and used wooden medals with a ribbon made from recycled material, which we believe are more environmentally friendly. We hope that the bags we use to give the medals to groups in the parade will be made from recycled lamppost banners.

• Main benefiary – each year 50% of any profits raised from the Carnival are given to one main beneficiary. This year the main beneficiary are The Friends of Ilkley Moor. The money we provide is to be used to preserve and restore the peatlands of Ilkley Moor which assist with carbon storage, flood alleviation and protecting numerous species of birds which inhabit the moor.

• Craft tent – we have a craft tent at the Carnival which is free for children to use. We have always used recycled or waste produces as much as possible, obtaining materials from ‘scrapes’ stores or from retailers. This year one of the crafts to be offered will be for children to plan a wild meadow using wild seeds, peat free soil and biodegradable plant pots made from recycled material. Children can take this home to watch it develop. Another activity will use twigs, leaves and reeds to make small model boats. In addition, the craft tent will have a display by the Friends of Ilkley Moor which outlines the work they are undertaking to preserve and restore the moor and also highlighting the importance of meadows to our wildlife and food chain.

• Parade – we have also encouraged the groups taking part in the parade to use as much recycled materials as possible and to keep costumes, etc for re-use in future years. We are aware that at least three groups are using recycled materials in their parade display this year.

Ilkley Carnival is a loved, supported and important part of our community spirit and our town’s fundraising spirit. With responsibility and sustainability at its core, all profits are donated to local organisations, groups and charities which do incredible work in Ilkley and surrounding areas. The admission charge, local business sponsorship, donations and the kindness and support of volunteers and our visitors are the reason our small committee continues to make sure that year after year there is an Ilkley Carnival to make memories, make smiles and make a difference to our community.