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Football stadium to be built from wood

Football stadium to be built from wood

One of the most eco-friendly football grounds ever built has been planned in Gloucestershire, as the new home of Forest Green Rovers.

The National League club, who currently play in the Forest Green district of Nailsworth, are to move to a new venue near Stroud as part of their plans to develop and eventually establish themselves in the Football League. Around 50 architects took part in a competition to design the new venue, with Zaha Hadid winning.

Holding up to 5,000 fans, the stadium will be at the heart of a £100 million Ecopark development by green energy firm Ecotricity, located by Junction 13 of the M5 near the villages of Nupend and Westend.

Ecotricity founder and Forest Green Rovers chairman Dale Vince noted that Zaha Hadid has designed a number of major sporting venues, including the London Olympic Stadium - now home to Premiership club West Ham United - as well as five venues for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

He added: "The really standout thing about this stadium is that it's going to be almost entirely made of wood - the first time that will have been done anywhere in the world.

"The importance of using wood is not only that it’s a naturally occurring material, it has very low carbon content - about as low as it gets for a building material."

Under Mr Vince, all things green, recycled and ethical have been a key theme of the club's activities. This has even extended to all the food at the club, including matchday pies and other offerings, being vegan.  

The use of wood as a construction material comes with the proviso that it should be treated in a way that makes it as flame-retardant as possible, and buildings made from it should be easy to evacuate.

Many older stadiums used wood extensively in their construction and some fell short of the kind of safety standards now enshrined in law. The Fire Safety and Safety of Places of Sport Act 1987 was passed in response to the blaze at Bradford City's Valley parade ground in 1985, when the mainly wooden main stand caught fire after a cigarette was dropped onto rubbish that had accumulated under the structure. The inferno spread so fast that 56 people were killed.

Image: iStock


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