6 July 2009
Sponsoring a new ‘Green Award’, Natural England today celebrated the dedicated work of council workers who have made most difference for their environment.
The winners were announced at the Local Government Association’s Council Worker of the Year Awards gala dinner in Harrogate. Sponsored by Natural England, the Green Award celebrates the achievements of the finalists from Local Authorities who have made most difference for the environment on their doorstep.
The winner of 2009’s inaugural Green Award was Julie Moulds, a teacher at Little Aston Primary School in Staffordshire who has led the way in organising green initiatives for her local school, fundraising for eco-charities, and encouraging people to think about how they can improve their local environment. In 2008 she set up the Little Aston Eco Council bringing together teachers, parents, pupils and the community to take action to boost the quality of their local environment.
Speaking from the Awards ceremony, Helen Phillips, Natural England’s Chief Executive, said: “Natural England is delighted to sponsor this Green Award, which highlights the vital role councils have to play in maintaining a healthy environment for people and for wildlife. All of the finalists have gone the extra mile in helping communities improve the quality of their local environment and our congratulations go to Julie Moulds for being the first Green Award winner.”
Helen Phillips continued: “By sponsoring this Green Award, Natural England wants to support the great work that individuals up and down the country are doing to raise environmental awareness. We also want to encourage local councils to deliver on their duties to support initiatives that protect the environment and to embrace the idea that improving the environment is fundamental to improving the quality of life for residents.”
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The finalists for the inaugural Green Award, sponsored by Natural England, were:
Chris Rutherford: Fleet and Depot Manager, Islington Borough Council Islington's Fleet and Depot Manager
Chris Rutherford, is passionate about making the council's vehicle fleet as green as can be. And his efforts have paid off. This year, Islington bagged the top spot at the 'European Public Sector Fleet of the Year' awards at the European Greenfleet Awards and Chris himself was named European Fleet Manager of the Year. The fact that London's smallest borough's fleet is named as the greenest public sector fleet in Europe is no mean feat and is underpinned by Chris' personal commitment, proactively and sheer determination. Our fleet contains some of the most environmentally-friendly vehicles on the market, plus our largest vehicles now run on bio-diesel and pure plant oil, reducing our emissions by up to 70%. The savings made across the entire fleet due to fuel reductions, congestion charge savings and raising our profile for grants has saved the council over £200k and almost 200 tonnes of CO2. If that wasn't enough, Chris' recent work to help re-brand the fleet has quite 'literally' made our vehicles the greenest in town, but is also helping to spread the word to our residents about the role they can play in protecting the environment.
Victoria Burgess: Improvement and Development Manager, Waste Services - East Lindsey District Council
A recycling revolution is sweeping East Lindsey thanks to the hard work of the local community and East Lindsey District Council's Recycling Engagement Team, led by finalist Victoria Burgess. As a result of Victoria's efforts, and the efforts of the collection crews, the District has become number 1 in the country for recycling, jumping 285 places in the recycling league table in just two years. 58.4% of all waste collected in the District is now being recycled and residents have caught the recycling bug since the introduction of a three wheeled bin system that makes door step recycling a doddle! Community engagement has been at the heart of the project's success with the team visiting over 30,000 homes and community groups as well as organising roadshows to provide advice on how families can make the most of the new system. Residents in East Lindsey have No Time to Waste!
Julie Moulds: Teacher, Little Aston Primary School - Staffordshire County Council
Primary School teacher Julie Moulds is helping make sure the people of Little Aston always put the environment first. Whether she is organising green initiatives, fundraising for eco charities, or encouraging peope to think about the bigger picture, Julie is always on the go. In 2008 she set up the Little Aston Eco Council which brings together teachers, parents, pupils and members of the community to take action to improve the climate. She leads composting projects, gets pupils growing, runs a car sharing scheme, organises litter picks and ensures the school leads the way in recycling. In the words of her nominator "She gives her time tirelessly and makes our future generation more responsible for our world". By motivating her pupils Julie helps spread the message beyond the classroom. There is no doubt that Little Aston is much greener, cleaner and healthier because of Julie's hard work.
Andrew Ellis: Home Energy Conservation Officer, Harrogate Borough Council
Stoking solid fuel boilers or using expensive storage heaters became a thing of the past for council residents as eight old peoples' bungalows in Copt Hewick (a village with no gas supply) were the first to be provided with ground source heat pumps (GSHPs); sourcing heat from underground saw bills go down and homes become warmer. Andrew has pioneered the use of GSHPs in council homes, working with colleagues and supported by industry funding partners. This groundbreaking scheme resulted in 35-50% running cost reductions and the initial properties reduced CO2 emissions by 25.6 tonnes pa, a 64% reduction. Andrew's determination to see more properties provided with this green/cheaper energy has seen him attract external funding, including Government grant, to support his council's contribution to fit GSHPs in a further 85 properties. Andrew's achievements have been recognised and his peers have sought him out; he has held learning days for government, council and industry representatives from all over the country.
John Herdman: Environmental Warden Supervisor, Darlington Borough Council
John Herdman joined Darlington Borough Council after a 30 year police career as an Environmental Warden Supervisor. Winning the Council's Outstanding Employee 2008 for excellent interpersonal skills and results focused approach, in regularly dealing with sensitive issues and members of the community. John manages the Environmental Crime Enforcement Team, constantly seeking improvements to the environment, impacting on levels of environmental crime within the borough, dealing with everything from Anti-Social Behaviour to fly-tipping. At the front line his efforts have been central to the Council's ambition to keep the streets, parks and open spaces of Darlington clean. His investigations into environmental crime resulted in a 100% prosecution rate since November 2005 gaining a DEFRA award "the Most Successful Enforcement team in the North East". John was responsible for 23 prosecutions for Environmental Crime since January 2008, since April 2007 he was responsible for 22 / 24 prosecutions for motorbike offences.
The finalists for all categories in The Council Worker of the Year Awards 2009:
Innovation 2009 - Steve Pickering - Warrington Borough Council
Leadership 2009 - Sue Bourne - Reading Borough Council
Transformation 2009 - Andy Hollingshead - Lincolnshire County Council
Caring 2009 - Stuart Simmons - Leeds City Council
Bravery 2009 - Barry Snowdon - Mansfield District Council
Working with Young People 2009 - Nikki Toms - Teignbridge District Council Community
Engagement 2009 - Steph Edkins - Worcestershire County Council
Green Award 2009 - Julie Moulds - Staffordshire County Council
Team of the Year 2009 - Casualty Reduction Team - Norfolk County Council
Lifetime Service 2009 - John Morris - Braintree District Council.
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