UCI Cycling World Championships: Glentress on the sustainability trail
Glentress is located in Scotland’s Tweed Valley, just an hour from Edinburgh. It is one of the country’s leading mountain bike destinations with more than 80km of trails for riders of all abilities.
Quite apart from catering to the mountain bike community, it is a popular spot for hiking, a haven of wildlife – not least its breeding osprey – and known for its stunning views of the Tweed Valley.
In just a few weeks’ time, Glentress will host the best mountain bike riders in the world for the mountain bike marathon (6 August) and mountain bike cross-country (6-12 August) competitions of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships. As well as the riders, spectators will flock to the venue to watch the action. Never before will so many people have converged on Glentress at the same time, but careful planning and organisation is ensuring that the area will remain as healthy and pristine as before the UCI World Championships.
GLENTRESS MASTERPLAN TO PROTECT BIODIVERSITY
Forestry and Land Scotland’s (FLS) Glentress Masterplan involved carrying out extensive surveys of wildlife in areas where construction work – such as car parking, two bridges, new trails – was to be carried out. Quite apart from the osprey, they worked to protect the resident bats, badgers, red squirrels, otters and reptiles. More than 1000 hours were spent monitoring, surveying, and recording ecology and environmental constraints to accommodate the Masterplan and UCI Cycling World Championships.
“This has enabled us to ensure that we safeguard the wildlife and habitat as part of the legacy of the event,” explains Paul Andrews Garth, FLS Project Manager-Glentress Masterplan. “We are keen to engage with visitors to understand how a working forest, that also has recreation facilities, can work, be managed and add value back to the environment.”
As a result, some trails were re-routed to protect squirrels, badgers and other wildlife. FLS has planted seed sacks on new bridges, and used trees that came down during Storm Arwen to create one of the areas of the mountain bike course, aptly named Arwen Avenue.
The UCI World Championships course was built using local materials, and all the tradespeople involved in the construction were locals, including former mountain bike professional and British Champion Tracey Brunger. A qualified carpenter, she picked up her original tools of the trade again after retiring from competition, and built the two bridges on the Glentress course.
All visitors to the competition are invited to contribute to the biosecurity measures by adhering to the Keep it clean guidelines for the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships.
MULTIPLE MEASURES FOR A SUSTAINABLE EVENT
Meanwhile, the ESO Sports organising team in Glentress has been working with sustainability experts and advisers to implement sustainability initiatives before, during and after the competitions in Glentress. These include:
- Using green hydrogen generators at the start of the mountain bike marathon at Traquair House, in collaboration with PlusZero
- Working with Velorim – specialists in bicycle industry recycling services – to collect tyres and inner tubes
- In collaboration with Trash Free Trails, setting up a sustainability hub with containers where teams can leave unwanted items which will then be found new homes
- Using a reusable cup scheme in association with Stack Cup
- Providing water refill points
- Encouraging visitors to use active travel to get to the competition site
- Providing bike parking and park & ride services
- Using wood and straw bales to construct furniture at the event village.
The provision of food and beverages at the competition site has also been organised in the most sustainable manner possible:
- All food vendors are local: 8 out of 12 are from the Scottish Borders with the furthest vendor located 72 miles away in Dumfries & Galloway
- The 12 vendors have been questioned on their sustainability measures such as using local food and offering vegetarian / vegan alternatives
- Leftover food will be donated free to staff and volunteers using recyclable or compostable containers provided by Zero Waste Scotland.