Dartford FC is claiming the world's first "eco-friendly" football stadium, which opened on Saturday.
Officials at the Kent club hope the 4,100-capacity Prince's Park stadium will inspire bigger clubs to follow suit. Teams such as Manchester City, Arsenal and Middlesbrough have plans to install wind turbines, but Dartford FC are the first to incorporate a broad range of environmentally friendly features into their stadium design.
Given Kent's water shortage, irrigation was a top priority in planning the stadium. Water run-off from the roofing is channelled through pipes and gullies into two lakes. This rainwater can be used for maintaining the pitch, which requires up to 20,000 litres a day. Solar panels power most of the hot water and under-floor heating in the clubhouse.
The £6.5m construction has also been built to blend in to the rolling green countryside. It features curved roofing and a sunken pitch. Local flint was used in the project.
The Conservative leader of Dartford Borough Council, Jeremy Kite, hopes the "green" stadium will boost civic pride. He said: "I know people think of Dartford as just having the Dartford tunnel but for the people who live here, it has 100 years of football history."
Saturday's match, the club's first home game in 14 years, attracted a capacity crowd. And following the 4-2 victory over Horsham in the Isthmian Division One South match, stadium staff collected the litter left behind for recycling.Reuse content