York Racecourse has today launched ‘Green Knavesmire 300’ – an environmental strategy which would see it reach net zero by 2040.
Described as “a commitment by York Racecourse to do the right thing for its horses, its people, and its planet”, York becomes the first independent racecourse to become a signatory of the UN Sport for Climate Action – Race to Zero.
Green Knavesmire 300 outlines ambitious plans in four key areas as to how York Racecourse will tackle the environmental challenge:
- NetZero by 2040
- Enhancing biodiversity
- Conserving and managing water
- Embracing the circular economy.
The launch comes just days before York Racecourse begins its 2023 season, with the Dante Festival starting on Wednesday.
It builds on the greening of the racecourse which began in 2017 when it began making positive changes focused on reducing emissions.
The installation of two boreholes for irrigation and a commitment to the Leisure Water Operator Charter has significantly reduced extraction from mains water supply.
Zero waste to landfill, sourcing from local food producers and suppliers and the eradication of many single use plastics, are helping reduce the racecourse’s impact on the planet.
And its flower gardens are a haven for pollinators and wildlife.
Eight years ahead
William Derby, York Racecourse chief executive, said: “Everyone here is an incredibly proud custodian of York Racecourse and its home of nearly 300 years here on the Knavesmire.
“Since 2017, we have made considerable changes to our operations, leading to a more than 50% reduction in our carbon footprint – this is eight years ahead of the requirement for Net Zero.
“The team feel passionate that the racecourse continues to play an important role in safeguarding our communities, both racing and local, for a further 300 years.
“To enjoy a future that includes world-class horseracing, we recognise the urgent need to minimise our negative impact on the environment. GREEN KNAVESMIRE 300 is our ambitious plan for the future and as a sign of our commitment we have proudly signed up to the UN Sports for Climate Action initiative.”
Alison Enticknap, director of strategy and change at the British Horseracing Association, said: “To thrive in the future, racing will need to safeguard itself against the impacts of changes in our climate, as well as playing our part by operating more sustainably.
“York Racecourse’s environmental strategy is a great example of the initiatives we are keen to see, and learn from, as part of a broader environmental strategy and plan for British racing.”
The carbon footprint analysis and creation of York’s environmental strategy has been supported by leading equine environmental sustainability consultancy, White Griffin.
Director of White Griffin Ruth Dancer said: “It has been a genuine pleasure supporting the team at York Racecourse in solidifying their vision for sustainability at York.
“They have put in the hard work already in reducing their emissions by over 50% across all of their operations and their grounds team are genuinely committed to finding innovative ways to support wildlife on the Knavesmire.
“Although there is a long road ahead, York have begun this process with a thoroughness and integrity which bodes well for successfully meeting their ambitious goals in line with the expectations of the UNFCCC Sport for Climate Action framework.”
You can read more about Green Knavesmire 300 on the York Racecourse website.