Evan Hopkins Interviewed By The Golf Environment

At the BMW PGA Championship last week we caught up with Evan Hopkins, Operations Manager at Hopkins Machinery – Buggy Hire UK, to find out how they are supporting European Tour’s GreenDrive Programme.

All interviews in our Behind the Scenes at the BMW PGA Championship Series can be found here.

Hopkins Machinery is a family company, started by Evan’s Father (Chris) and Grandfather (Ted) 30 years ago and based near Newport in the south of Wales. They have worked with European Tour for about ten years on numerous events including two Ryder Cups.

1.     What do you do at the event and what kind of impacts could that have on the environment?

We provide all the onsite logistics for the BMW PGA Championship, this includes golf buggies and forklift telehandlers. These move everything around site during the event from players and officials, spectators and media to recycling and supplies.

We have 192 vehicles on site. Impacts could include emissions from the use of the vehicles on site and those of the ten lorry loads it takes to get the buggies onto the site. As a very environmentally conscious company we work hard to reduce any impacts our that our operations can have.

2.     How do you minimise these impacts?

The vast majority of our fleet are electric Club Car golf buggies, 166 of the vehicles on site to be exact. This has a huge reduction on the carbon foot print and emission in comparison to diesel buggies. Not only that but using mainly electric vehicles means that the need to transport and store diesel and petrol on site is greatly reduced as is the risk of fuel spills. All our buggies are fuel efficient and kept well maintained with mechanics on site throughout the event.

To reduce the impact caused by transporting the buggies onto site we ensure our trucks are fully loaded and that they are used to collect vehicles from other events on their return, so no empty journeys are needed. We are also in the process of working towards all our trucks meeting EU Low Emission Zone Standards and looking into biodiesel trucks in the future.

3.     Why is sustainability and reducing your environmental impact important to Hopkins Machinery?

For me personally I am extremely passionate about sustainability, my background is in conservation, and my family all share this same passion and it has always been very important to our business operations. Our headquarters in wales is actually surrounded by a SSSI, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and we take great pride and care in protecting and enhancing this important habitat, which is home to many rare species.

On our site itself we have a barn owl box which is home to a breeding pair, and we’re looking into adding solar power to our site buildings during an upcoming site refurbishment. We also work with a charity local to us, Hedgehog Helpline, who take wood that we no longer use and make it into homes for hedgehogs.

4.     What benefits have your seen for your company and your clients from your sustainability work?

To start with, electric vehicles are operationally easier and cleaner than diesel and petrol, so that makes things simpler for us and our clients. Their also quieter, meaning less noise pollution and that’s much more desirable to clients as well.

We’ve found in general that clients are increasingly asking and wanting us to show our environmental credentials. And for some it’s a necessity. Our work to reduce our impact has definitely got us more business. For instance having our trucks FORS accredited has meant that we can show we meet the emissions standards necessary to work in London.

All of these benefits are coupled with the fact that we believe it is the right thing to do, and that’s important to us as individuals and as a company.

5.     What future opportunities do you see for further reducing the impact of on site transport at events?

New equipment and technologies are coming out all the time, as are new clean and reusable fuels, such as hydrogen fuel cells. That is a technology I’m particularly interested in. Increased research and government support is helping it to becoming a very exciting and practical opportunity which we’re keeping an eye on. Solar panel technology is also continuing to advance and improve and the Welsh Government is supporting a lot of work into renewable energy like the Swansea Bay Barrage project.

So it’s a really exciting time with a lot of up coming opportunities to look at new fuel sources not only for our vehicles on event sites but also our expanding depots. We will continue to prioritise resource efficiency for ourselves, our clients and of course for our responsibility to the planet.

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Article published: 01/06/2016
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Hopkins Machinery, St. Brides Wentloog,
Newport. NP10 8SR.

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