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Get voting for your Eco Hero

Published on Tuesday, 12th February 2019

People have until Monday 4 March to vote for who they want crowned the winner of the esteemed ‘Eco Hero’ title as part of the Norwich and Norfolk Eco Awards 2019.

A panel of environmental experts have shortlisted three outstanding nominees, all of whom are hugely committed to protecting the natural world.

Now in its eleventh year, the Norwich and Norfolk Eco Awards recognises unsung environmental individuals, projects and schemes with a strong ecological or environmentally-friendly ethos, and groups and organisations which can show they adopt a sound eco approach to their business.

Generous support from sponsors has allowed for an even bigger and better Eco Awards this year, with cash prizes for many categories, along with the special sustainable wooden trophies. To vote, people just need to visit and click through to the voting page.

Leading renewable energy group Vattenfall, the developer of two of the world’s largest offshore wind farms off the Norfolk coast, is sponsoring the Eco Hero category, and WSP, world leaders in engineering professional services, are the overall sponsor of this year’s Eco Awards. Other category sponsors include Pixie Energy, Veolia and Updata.

Ruari Lean, Vattenfall’s Norfolk Vanguard’s Project Manager said: “We’re very pleased to be involved with the Norwich and Norfolk Eco Awards. Our purpose at Vattenfall is to enable fossil-free living within one generation. The transformational changes required won’t all come from large-scale energy developments - they also take root at the community and individual level – by people inspiring us all to live climate smarter lives. Whether you are nominated or not, we’d like to encourage all Norfolk’s eco-heroes who are active in addressing climate change.”

Councillor Martin Wilby, Chairman of Environment, Development and Transport Committee at Norfolk County Council said: “It’s time to get voting for your favourite Eco Hero and what a great three finalists we have this year. I’d like to thank all our sponsors for their support in helping to make this year’s Eco Awards the best yet.”

Councillor Kevin Maguire, Cabinet Member for Safe City Environment at Norwich City Council, said: “The hard work and zeal of all of our eco hero candidates has an important role in promoting the message that if we all take our best steps, no matter how small we might consider our steps to be, we build a platform upon which we can make greater advances in battling climate change. This incremental approach of all the fantastic entries is an important part of this.”

Evolutionary biologist and TV presenter Dr Ben Garrod will present the Eco Awards on March 28. Ben has recently presented Hyper Evolution: Rise of the Robots on BBC Four and The Day the Dinosaurs Died on BBC Two, and was last week appointed Professor of Evolutionary Biology and Science Engagement at the University of East Anglia (UEA).

This year’s Eco Hero nominees are:

Amy Shaw started to notice how much waste came from coffee machines and decided to do something about it. She set up a Facebook group and began collections, even setting up a drop-off point at her house.

She encourages people in her community to recycle, organizes litter picks in her village, and donates the money raised to RAF Benevolent Fund charity. The Facebook group now has over 180 members and has become a hub for people to discuss and share ideas around eco-friendly products and sustainability.

Nadia Sparkes started picking up litter on her way home from school, when bullies at her school started calling her ‘Trash Girl’ she decided to own it. Since she began collecting litter on her school route in September 2017 she has collected over 1400 litres of rubbish which she brings home each day in her bicycle basket.

In March 2018 she became the youngest ambassador for WWF, she uses her platform to encourage others to love where they live, promoting ways to use less, recycle more and diffusing the stigma around litter picking. She has a Facebook group with over 4,000 members across the globe collecting litter, with members supporting each other and arranging local meet ups.

Matt Willer has led a multi award-winning allotment project at Reepham High School over the last few years, growing produce with the children for the school’s kitchen and the wider community, and has promoted other eco improvements to the school like more bins solely for plastic recycling. Matt has brought together staff, students, parents and members of the local community to run ‘The Allotment Project’.

Matt created the allotment using almost all recycled items, collecting over 150 illegally fly-tipped tyres locally along with bath tubs and toilets to form growing spaces. He has received visits from the Bishop of Norwich, the Chairman of the RHS and others, and has even received an invitation to meet Prince Charles personally as a result of his environmental work.

Author: Hugo Douglas-Deane, Norfolk County Council, on behalf of Norwich and Norfolk Eco Awards partners - Norfolk County Council and Norwich City Council.