Forest Green Rovers, dubbed the 'greenest' soccer club in the world, are planning to build the modern world's first all-wood stadium. Matthew Stock reports.
Forest Green Rovers could soon have a stadium to make the likes of Manchester United 'green' with envy. This is the proposed vision of the non-league soccer club -- the modern world's first entirely wooden stadium. Current stadium construction has a huge carbon footprint... but wood is the way forward, according to Forest Green. Chairman Dale Vince, founder of green energy firm Ecotricity, says concrete is the main culprit. SOUNDBITE (English) DALE VINCE, CHAIRMAN OF FOREST GREEN ROVERS AND FOUNDER OF ECOTRICITY, SAYING: "If you look at the carbon impact of sports stadia through their working life, 75 percent of that impact comes from the materials that they're made with, so it's not the running cost. Wood is of course a very sustainable material, low in carbon. So that's our starting point really -- we'll make it from the least impactful material that we can." The stadium will be the centre-piece for Eco Park, a planned £100 million sports and green technology business park. It was designed by award winning firm Zaha Hadid Architects with an initial crowd capacity of 5,000... though this may be expanded as the club grows. Inside, a host of innovation to keep the environmental toll down. SOUNDBITE (English) DALE VINCE, CHAIRMAN OF FOREST GREEN ROVERS AND FOUNDER OF ECOTRICITY, SAYING: "For example, a translucent roof to reduce shadows on the pitch which will improve the game itself but also aid the grass growth. It's something that the wind can pass through which again aids the grass growth without the need for big fans which you might find at Premiership clubs, for example, to cool the pitch in the summer....An awful lot of thought has gone into it. So it's eco but it's going to be aesthetic and also a great experience to be in, playing and watching." Vince says modern fire-retardant treatments on timber will make it safer than steel-constructed stadiums, which are at greater risk of collapse. Forest Green Rovers are already known as the world's 'greenest' soccer club. They have an organic pitch, solar power, robotic lawnmower, and an all-vegan menu at their current ground. While it could take years to break into English soccer's top divisions, when it comes to eco-credientials Forest Green Rovers are already in the premier league.