Environmental Action

National Rural Tour Forum Exploration into the environmental impacts, practices and carbon footprint of Rural Touring.

In Partnership With Julie’s Bicycle. May 2023

The aims and objectives of the project –

An exploration to see what data is submitted, see what is missing, and see which methodologies we can use to get the data we need to tell our story successfully.

To see if there is a way we can calculate a carbon footprint approximation.

To have the knowledge evidence and tools to use to make a case for our sustainability.

Explore the proximities of a green charter and methods of increasing our sustainability and environmental responsibility response.

Headline Results

From the survey we can see that schemes, artists, and venues across the NRTF are enthusiastic and willing to do more to lessen their environmental impact, however, they are facing a number of challenges which is making this more difficult and highlighting the need for broader local partnerships and infrastructure.


The majority of schemes (69%) are enthusiastic to engage with artists, venues and audiences more on sustainability issues. Others, (31%) would like some more guidance in how to do this effectively.

38% of schemes have their own sustainability policy, others are in the process of developing one and some need more support with this.


Mostly, artists travel to shows in petrol/diesel vans or cars (81%).

Almost all artists reuse and recycle, sets, props & costumes after a show run and many source materials sustainably (81%).

100% of artists surveyed try to avoid single-use plastic when on a rural tour.


Venues try to recycle as much as they can (74%).

47% provide clearly signposted bins to encourage recycling.

42% of venues have implemented a sustainable initiative from improving recycling rates to replacing lighting with LED bulbs and installing solar panels or air source heating systems.


The main challenges for schemes in improving the environmental sustainability of their work are limited time and capacity, financial considerations and the limitations of venues’ ability to engage.

The main challenges for artists are around travelling to rural touring performances – mainly there are issues around accessibility of rural locations by public transport, the cost of electric vehicles (EVs), difficulties finding EV charging points in rural areas and the time it takes to charge them.

The main challenges for venues are around waste and recycling, as small community venues with small teams, do not have the capacity to sort and separate waste.

There are also difficulties around audiences knowing where to recycle waste even with clearly signposted bins available. Additionally, the local authority recycling provision isn’t available to recycle all of the forms of waste that the venue has to handle. Knowing how to access funding for energy efficiency improvements was another significant challenge.