The annual Boat Race on the river Thames at Hammersmith

Forget the Blues – we’re turning the Boat Race green

While the university rowers battle it out on Sunday 7 April, Hammersmith & Fulham Council will be on shore battling to keep the annual Boat Race event as environmentally friendly as possible.

As part of its ambition to become the greenest borough in Britain, H&F Council has taken steps to reduce the environmental impact of next month’s varsity Boat Race, which draws thousands of fans to the borough.

Among the measures are depositable cup schemes for bars in Boat Race fan zones, bans on disposable plastics from caterers and more recycling bin bags along the riverside.

“We welcome thousands of boat race fans to our borough each year, but we need to change the way people enjoy this traditional spectacle,” said Cllr Wesley Harcourt, H&F Cabinet Member for Environment.

“We’re trying to reduce the amount of waste, in particular single-use plastics, that are consumed on the riverside and hope visitors will play their part taking their rubbish home, or using the bins and facilities provided.”

A greener Boat Race

This year’s sponsor for the event is a bottled water company which will be handing out free samples to spectators. To minimise the amount of single-use plastic bottles, the council has requested they operate only in the designated fan zones in Bishop’s Park and Furnivall Gardens and not along the river walk.

Caterers at the event have been told they are not allowed to use any disposable plastic items. And through the depositable cup scheme, bar-goers can pay a small deposit, which is returned when they return their cup.

Litter picks in the fan zones and alongside the river will take place throughout the day and a major litter pick is scheduled for later that afternoon as part of Keep Britain Tidy's Great British Spring Clean campaign. While volunteers from recycling organisation, Every Can Counts will be litter picking through Furnivall Gardens, targeting drinks cans throughout the day.

Next year to further reduce the amount of single-use plastics we will not be allowing bottled water companies to hand out plastic bottles.

Boat Race spectators in Furnivall Gardens
Boat Race spectators in Furnivall Gardens

Where can I watch it?

The spectator events run from noon until 8pm in sections of Bishop’s Park, Fulham and Furnivall Gardens, Hammersmith. The event is free and includes food stalls, bars, large spectator screens and other activities.

When do the races start?

Men’s race – 2.13pm
Women’s race – 3.10pm

Traffic and parking

No waiting and loading restrictions will be in place on streets close to Furnivall Gardens, Hammersmith, with advanced warning signs on lampposts near affected areas.

Hammersmith Bridge will be closed from 1.30pm to 4pm to allow spectators to watch the race. Warning signs for motorists have been placed around Hammersmith Gyratory and approaching roads.

Some parking bays will be suspended on Stevenage Road, Fulham, Rutland Grove, Hammersmith, and alongside Digby Mansions, Hammersmith. These are to allow access for event vehicles.

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