Kate's Column - The Journey so Far

  • 31st Jan 2024

Welcome to my first column of 2024!

I hope you all had a wonderful and restful time over the festive break.  As we enter a new year, here at Douglas Bader House we are all working towards this year’s Royal International Air Tattoo and excited to say it is less than six months away.

With that in mind, I have decided to use this column to reflect on the incremental changes that we have made to the show to date to improve its sustainability. We are focussed on improving where we can, and we are proud of the changes that we have already implemented; we believe small steps land big changes.

Firstly, one initiative that we are particularly proud of is our shuttlebus service, which is free to book and departs from both Swindon bus station and Cheltenham Racecourse. This service results in less cars on the road and it is encouraging that we saw a 66% increase in uptake of this service from Swindon in 2023 from 2022 as a total of 11,461 people opted to travel by bus. 

Moving onto the airfield itself, our temporary diner, which caters for staff, volunteers, military personnel and aircrew, produces just under 60,000 meals over a 15-day period. As well as only using biodegradable packaging since 2022, and local produce where possible, the team seek to minimise food waste, through accurate planning and effective on-site management in the kitchen.

Across the showground we provide free water to all our visitors with over 100,000 litres available last year, which was also used (despite the weather!).

We also worked hard to reduce the overall amount of waste produced on site and sought to use products and materials that could be reused or recycled where feasible. This is an area that we are looking to improve this year, working closely with our waste contractor to ensure this.

We are committed to working towards sustainability and are looking to make improvements year-on-year. We have recently updated our Sustainability Development Policy for 2024 which is available to view here.

This month we were also joined by our new Sustainability Co-ordinator Briony Farmer. She will be working closely with myself and the rest of the team in Douglas Bader House to develop and implement our plans to realise our ambitions and commitment to improve our operations to reduce our impacts on the environment. You will hear more from Briony over the coming months, as she settles in and gets to know the Royal International Air Tattoo.   

As always, thank you for your continued support and we look forward to keeping you up to date throughout the year!