Glyndebourne Wind Turbine Proposal approved by Secretary of State

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David Pickard, General Director Glyndebourne Productions Ltd, said:

“Glyndebourne Productions Limited is delighted that the Secretary of State, Hazel Blears has granted permission for Glyndebourne to build a wind turbine. This is a significant step for Glyndebourne in its continued drive to take responsibility for the impact it has on the environment. The turbine will supply the opera house with clean renewable energy and will reduce its carbon emissions by 70%. The project has been spearheaded by Gus Christie, but it is an imperative for Glyndebourne as an environmentally responsible organisation. We would like to extend our sincere thanks to all who have supported this project.”

Gus Christie, Executive Chairman Glyndebourne Productions Ltd, said:

“The wind turbine is part of an environmental ambition for Glyndebourne and is a response to the global climate threat. We are proud that the turbine will make a significant contribution towards the achievement of renewable energy targets within this region. As an internationally renowned opera house, we want to use our profile to encourage other businesses and individuals to preserve the environment. Climate change is a certainty in our lifetime and we all need to take responsibility for this.”

The wind turbine is only one part of an environmental strategy currently being implemented at Glyndebourne. As well as practical steps aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions and improving energy efficiency, Glyndebourne has also committed to raising awareness of climate change:

The Wind Turbine

The 850KW Wind Turbine will reduce Glyndebourne’s carbon dioxide emissions by 855 tonnes p.a. The turbine will consist of a tubular tower 44m high and a three bladed rotor – diameter 52m. It will have an overall height to blade tip of 70m and a base diameter of about 3m. The turbine will be sited at Mill Plain.

What happens next?

The wind turbine will cost about £750,000 to develop and Glyndebourne Productions Limited will fund the building of the turbine either though sponsorship or working capital. A meteorological monitoring mast will be erected on site in autumn 2008 and will monitor wind speeds for 12 months. The turbine will be in place and powering the opera house by 2010.


Glyndebourne intends to make it easy for people on and off site (at touring venues, and if permitted, in the local village of Ringmer), to see how the turbine is performing with public displays of data and information which will remain in place for the lifetime of the turbine. This information will make it possible for the 150,000 people who visit Glyndebourne annually to learn more about the turbine as well as local people and those attending Glyndebourne performances elsewhere. The Glyndebourne website will be an up to date source of information about the turbine and other greenhouse gas abatement initiatives and Glyndebourne commits to including information and updates about the turbine in its seasonal Glyndebourne Newsletter to over 8,000 members, the Glyndebourne Annual Report, the annual programme books and in other communications.

Education – raising awareness in current and future generations

Nationally over 15,000 people participate in Glyndebourne’s annual Education Programme. When the turbine is operating in 2010, Glyndebourne Education will undertake a project focusing on the environment and creativity, using the turbine as its foundation in primary schools within a 25 mile radius of Glyndebourne. This project will be implemented throughout the school year and is expected to involve over 4,000 children. For all other ongoing community projects appropriate emphasis will be given to Glyndebourne’s environmental strategy. Glyndebourne will engage its Youth Groups, with over 100 participants aged eight to 18, in making the turbine the focus of their programme in 2010. Glyndebourne will also give talks about the turbine to the 3,500 students attending its performances for schools and ensure that the turbine will form part of our Opera Experience workshops enjoyed by 2,500 primary and secondary students each year. Over 3,600 people attend Glyndebourne’s annual Talks and Study Days and in 2010 Glyndebourne will explain the purpose of the turbine and its output to attendees. Glyndebourne will also make the turbine a feature of its winter guided tours enjoyed by an annual audience of 1,000.

Climate change and carbon dioxide reduction strategy

Glyndebourne will be appointing an internal officer to take responsibility for the monitoring, control and ongoing reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. In 2006 Glyndebourne appointed the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Management (ECCM) to review greenhouse gas emissions and their report provides the baseline for Glyndebourne’s ongoing strategy. Glyndebourne further commits to an annual review of greenhouse gas emissions by an independent party and to the public reporting of the results.

Audience – changing the way we travel

At present Glyndebourne provides coaches to transport audience members to and from Lewes station, with train times and details of the service being publicised in the annual booking brochure, in emails which go to every member of the audience prior to their visit and on Glyndebourne’s web site. Glyndebourne commits to further encourage the use of this service, providing additional coaches to meet demand. From 2009 Glyndebourne will no longer be allowing audience to arrive by helicopter.

About Glyndebourne

The Glyndebourne Festival was founded in 1934 by John Christie and his wife, Audrey Mildmay; their grandson Gus is now Executive Chairman with David Pickard the General Director. Carl Ebert was the first Artistic Director and Fritz Busch Music Director. Vladimir Jurowski is the current Music Director. The Festival repertoire has expanded to include operas from the baroque to the contemporary, including seven of Glyndebourne’s own commissions and 13 British premieres. The opera house itself was rebuilt in 1994 and now seats 1,200. Glyndebourne on Tour was founded in 1968 taking productions to a wider audience and offering increased performance opportunities to young singers. Additionally, Glyndebourne’s education department has an enormous commitment to new opera and community projects; it currently hosts over 230 different activities each year. With 124 opera performances annually reaching over 140,000 people, Glyndebourne’s continued employment of inspirational directors and performers, and the ongoing drive to commission new work, now goes hand in hand with digital innovations to reach new audiences.