The individuals, organisations and companies who put environmental issues at the heart of what they do were celebrated last night at the Norwich and Norfolk Eco Awards at The Halls in Norwich.
In its 10th year, the awards, which in 2015 was expanded from a city only scheme to take in the whole county, are a fitting way of paying tribute to the work of often unsung heroes.
The winning projects ranged from outdoor classrooms where vegetables are grown to low-carbon produce growing; reducing food waste by redistributing surplus to help people in food poverty and using carbon neutral energy.
This year, for the first time, the winner of the title of Eco Hero was put to the public vote, receiving an impressive 1,020 votes.
Cllr Kevin Maguire, Norwich City Council Cabinet member with responsibility for environmental strategy said:
“Every year the judges are overwhelmed by the effort and quality of work people put in to championing environmental and social issues. It’s only right their commitment and dedication is celebrated and our sincerest thanks go to our sponsors for their generosity, which makes these awards possible.”
Cllr Martin Wilby, Chair of the Environment, Development and Transport Committee at Norfolk County Council, said:
“As a rural county, our commitment to the environment is incredibly important. We must all follow the ethos promoted and decorated by these awards, and continue to respect the world around us.
It is everyone’s responsibility to prioritise environmental sustainability both at work and at home, and I am confident that these individuals and initiatives will continue to inspire the next generation of exciting eco projects.”
Renewable energy group Vattenfall, the developer of two of the world’s largest offshore wind farms off the Norfolk coast, is overall sponsor of the eco awards.
Local liaison officer Susan Falch-Lovesey, said
“The Norwich and Norfolk Eco Awards celebrate the inspiring work of individuals and groups who make a difference to achieving a healthy, fair, sustainable and low carbon society – every day. Vattenfall is on its own journey to be fossil-fuel free in a generation and so we are honoured to support the awards.”
Each category has also been sponsored by the following organisations: Eastern Daily Press, Norse, Pixie Energy, Updata, Veolia and Recycle for Norfolk.
Every winner received a handmade sustainable wood trophy. Both the winning and highly commended primary schools were also presented with three and two tablets, respectively.
The catering for the awards ceremony was provided by social enterprise The Feed and is locally sourced, wherever possible, served alongside fairtrade drinks.
Summary of the winners and winning projects
Rackheath Primary School
Category: Eco Primary School, sponsored by Updata
A number of initiatives including an area-wide litter pick, dog mess signs designed and placed in the village and an initiative to upcycle unwanted textiles.
Reepham High School & College’s Allotment Project
Category: Eco Secondary School, sponsored by Norse
A successful vegetable producing outdoor classroom, which has gone from strength-to-strength.
Category: Eco Community Group, sponsored by Recycle for Norfolk
The group collect food surplus from retailers, they sort it, store it and redistribute it to organisations that help people in food poverty.
Buxton Potato Company
Category: Eco Food Producer, sponsored by Veolia
The company has worked to reduce its carbon footprint through a number of initiatives including installing solar panels and a bio mass boiler, fitting low energy LED lighting and adapting growing methods to use more organic methods and reduce fertiliser use.
Category: Eco Small or Medium Business, sponsored by Eastern Daily Press
This family-run printing business has joined a scheme where emissions are off-set through forest preservation and is Norfolk’s first and only Certified Carbon Balanced Publication Printer. It also sources all its energy from a 100 per cent green energy tariff.
Category: Eco Hero, sponsored by Pixie Energy
Sarah has organised a number of projects at Colby School including organising textile recycling events and art projects using recycled materials, helping to build willow tunnels and domes in the school garden, energy research projects, as well as bulb-planting.
- Primary school: Brundall Primary school
- Secondary school: Framingham Earl High School
- Food producer: The People for Wildlife and Tuckswood Food Growing Project
- Community group: Emmaus Norfolk and Waveney
- Small-medium business: Netmatters Ltd
- Eco Hero: Kate Cooper, Rosalind Bacon and Trevor Williams.