Green Awards celebrate city's eco successes

Eco-friendly families, businesses and community groups were recognised at the annual Green Awards on Monday 16 February 2015. The Green Awards were organised by the Peterborough Telegraph and Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT).

The panel of judges comprised of PECT Chief Executive Carly Leonard; Ken McKay, Honorary Patron of PECT; Councillor Nigel North, Peterborough City Council Cabinet Member for Communities and Environment Capital; Nyree Ambarchian, Associate Director at Stand Agency; and Iain Crighton, President of the Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce and Chairman of the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce.

"This unique event helps to celebrate and raise awareness of the achievements of individuals, businesses, schools and community groups across the city and surrounding areas," explains Carly Leonard. "We have such a lot to be proud of, from our green spaces, to our vibrant community groups, through to businesses that are leading the way in terms of embedding sustainability into their business models. The Green Awards are about celebrating how far we have come and how much we have achieved."

The judges were really impressed with the standard of entries, and from the full list of entrants provided a shortlist for the Awards Ceremony night. The winners were:

Best Green Family Award sponsored by Cross Keys Homes.

Winner: The Middleton Family

Stuart, Clare and their daughter Emma are obsessive recyclers. They buy their food from the local Green Backyard shop and Approved Food, which sells produce that is past the best before date and so would otherwise have gone to waste. They are a single car household and limit the use of this with public transport and by walking. All three members of the family volunteer for The Green Backyard.

Runners-up: Jason Gearing and Amanda Rigby

Amanda and Jay wholeheartedly embrace the green lifestyle, and their enthusiasm and positivity about caring for the environment is contagious. Together, they run Paper Rhino, a not-for-profit social enterprise design agency, and they are sustainable in their working practices.

Best Green Space Award sponsored by Big Web Warehouse.

Winner: Thorpe Gate

The Thorpe Gate River Care group believes that the River Nene is one of Peterborough's finest and yet most under-appreciated assets. The group’s goals have been to protect the local river environment and its wildlife and to promote a sense of community. 

Runner-up: Itter Park

This family-friendly park, in the centre of Peterborough, is the hub of its local community. It is a fantastic advocate for encouraging people to get outside for a healthy and active lifestyle. Itter Park is a Green Flag winner for 2014/15.

Runner-up: The Green Backyard

The Green Backyard is a fantastic pioneer for sustainable gardening practices, and also actively helps to build sustainable communities. It is located in the heart of the city, making it easily accessible by public transport.

Best Green Volunteer or Community Group Award sponsored by Queensgate.

Winner: Glinton & Peakirk Green Community Group

This group is driven by a commitment to ensure that the villages are at the forefront of positive environmental change. In 2012 the group, with the support of Peterborough City Council, became involved in a project to develop realistic solutions to reduce their impact. The group aims to: raise awareness of environmental issues, generate positive behaviour change, monitor emissions by creating a whole community carbon footprint, and deliver a visible carbon reduction investment.

Green Champion: Ricky Caywood from the Wildlife Haven Project at Railworld

Ricky is an integral part of the volunteer group at Railworld’s Wildlife Haven Project. Ricky has volunteered regularly two days a week for about 10 years – doing all the important jobs that keep this environmental project alive and kicking!

Green Champion: The Green Backyard

This is a vibrant community growing project in the heart of Peterborough, which was established in 2009 and is run entirely by volunteers. The Green Backyard is about the people of Peterborough working together to make the city a more friendly and healthy place to live.

Green Champion: Peter Reynolds from Greeniversity

Peter volunteers with the community green skills sharing initiative Greeniversity in order to help build strong, sustainable communities within the city. He has shown huge commitment and delivered consistently every week for over 18 months. Peter has become a vital part of the Greeniversity team, bringing enthusiasm, professionalism and ideas to the project.

Green Champion: Gordon Pearson from Parkrun

Parkrun is the city’s weekly free timed 5km run, which now hosts more than 400 joggers weekly. Gordon is the run director and his determination and passion towards making Peterborough a more sustainable place to live has been key to the success of the project. Gordon worked closely with the Travelchoice team to ensure sustainable transport was embedded in the Parkrun briefings.

Green Champion: John Turner from Fairtrade Peterborough

John volunteers for the Fairtrade Peterborough Steering Committee, working as treasurer, website administrator, and running social media. He leads the work that the group is doing towards achieving the Fairtrade City Status for Peterborough.

Green Champion: Tim Devonshire from Rivercare

Tim runs the city centre RiverCare group. Most RiverCare groups have two volunteer group leaders, however Tim has been doing it single-handedly! This is a volunteer role that takes a lot of his time, and is something he has managed to successfully do, despite having a full-time job and a young child at home.

Best Sustainable Food Producer Award sponsored by Amey.

Winner: Riverford Farm

Riverford Farm delivers organic veg boxes to homes all over the city. When Riverford took over management of the farm they put in the work to create an organic, wildlife friendly farm. Recent initiatives include planting an apple orchard, wildflower meadow planting, and carrying out a biodiversity survey.

Runner-up: John McGinn at the Dog in a Doublet

John cooks and serves local and sustainable food. He has a mini-farm on site and so many of his meals have low or no food miles.Thee best example is that if you order gammon, eggs and chips you can then see out of the window where all of those items had come from - the eggs are from his hens, the gammon comes from his pigs and the chips are from the field next door!

Runner-up: Matt Bedford at Fishtastic

Matt sources locally as much as possible, and also carefully checks that his fish is sustainably sourced. He also paid to have a nutritional analysis done for his most popular meal in order to compare it to other takeaways - his came out 2nd.

Runner-up: Samantha Bateman at Clarke's Cafe

Sam cooks with fresh, local produce  changing her menu regularly, in order to reflect not seasonal changes as well. Sam seeks new opportunities to improve the restaurant’s sustainability credentials, and in the summer used some of the first batches of Ian Tennant's new local salad leaf business.

Green Tourism  Award sponsored by Peterborough City Council.

Winner: Flag Fen

Flag Fen Archaeology Park is situated on the edge of Peterborough, offering a tranquil haven for visitors and wildlife. The site has been carefully managed to protect the hidden archaeology and to interpret the story of Peterborough’s ancient past. Such sensitive management of Flag Fen has benefited many species of animals, plants and insects. At the site’s recent Bioblitz event 190 wildlife species were identified, including a thriving population of rare black Water Voles along with Otters, Barn Owls, a pair of Peregrine Falcons and Kingfishers.

Runner-up: Best Western Orton Hall Hotel

This hotel has been working with the nationally recognised Green Tourism Business Scheme awarding body over the past four years. They were first awarded a silver award, and two years later - following further improvements - are now close to the gold standard.

Runner-up Thomas Cook

Thomas Cook Group plc is in a period of rapid transformation, and are committed to their sustainability. Just to summarise some of their achievements – they have  reduced their energy consumption by 35%, reduced the carbon footprint across the office and retail estate, plus they have started a programme to raise employee awareness of sustainability. 

Green Youth Group Award sponsored by McCain.

Winner: Emma Herbert

Emma has set up a Young Environmentally Minded Group called Home Educated Haven Explorers. All the children have special needs and all the children have a great love and fascination for nature and the environment. The group met initially every Tuesday, but such has been the success of the group they plan to meet on Thursdays as well.

Green Champion: Ormiston Bushfield Academy Eco Club

Example from the eco club range from holding a Big Worm Dig through to encouraging staff and students to ‘go green’, It has made efforts to cut energy use, support sustainable travel and improve local wildlife.

Green Champion: Nene Park Academy

A number of students volunteered to help create a new community pond in the wooded area at the back of the school. There is an existing Great Crested Newt breeding pond close by which has fish in it meaning that the Newts are declining in numbers. The Green Team, along with the charity Frog life, created a new pond to make it an alternative site for the newts to breed.

Green Champion: Thorpe Primary School

The Eco Club has been growing their own food and using it in their school dinners, they also harvested their seeds so that they could be used next season. They have their own composting bins and have the ambition of their garden being completely sustainable.

Green Champion: Werrington Primary School

Werring ton Primary Eco Team went on a visit to the Amey Cespa site at Waterbeach and were so horrified at the amount of waste being thrown away from packed lunches that they used footage from their visit to make a film which they showed at a whole school assembly. They then implemented a program in school to drastically reduce waste from packed lunches. 

Exemplar Green Businesses sponsored by Hunt & Coombes.

McCain

At McCain, good business practice and operational efficiency go hand-in-hand with environmental sustainability. They understand the benefits of being a responsible custodian of the environment from farm to fork, and their local plant is regarded as a flagship site for sustainability among the global network of McCain businesses. Like all of its UK sites, it is also ISO14001 accredited. 

Larkfleet Group

Larkfleet Group is an award-winning house building and development company. Group companies include: Larkfleet Homes - building energy-efficient homes, Kestrel Timber Frame - providing timber frames from sustainable forest sources, Lark Energy - the UK’s leading developer of photovoltaic (PV) ‘solar farms’ to generate electricity from sunlight, Eco Building Products and Larkfleet Renewables - developing and selling sustainable technologies, and Falcon Waste - developing waste-to-energy plants.

Overall Contribution to the Environment Capital Award sponsored by Prince Energy.

Winner: The Green Backyard

The Green Backyard makes a significant contribution to many of the Environment Capital principles. It has solar power and rain water harvesting systems operating on site. It one of the most accessible green spaces in the city, the site is served by 12 bus routes and is just a 5 minute walk from the train station and city centre. In 2012 a survey found that over 95% of visitors reported a significant improvement in their physical and mental health as a result of spending time at the GBY. 

Winner: Peterborough Highway / SKANSKA

Skanska began working in the city in 2013 when they entered into a ten year partnership with Peterborough City Council for the provision of the city’s highways maintenance services. Adopting a ground breaking approach during the procurement of this contract, the council challenged bidders to specify how they would deliver against each of the ten principles of Environment Capital throughout the contract. Throughout the process Skanska demonstrated a clear commitment to Peterborough’s Environment Capital aspiration and since successfully winning the contract they have put this commitment into practice. They have embedded sustainability in to their day to day work.

Runner-up: Peterborough Re-Use

When Brainwave Innovations posted a challenge by Peterborough based international coffee manufacturer Masteroast of how to divert large quantities of coffee sacks from landfill, a solution posted by Pav Patel and Gary Graves not only solved this challenge but also led to the idea behind Peterborough Reuse. The innovative business model behind Peterborough Re-use repurposes these hessian bags: whether that’s as mulch for use in tree planting, riverbank reinforcement as part of flood protection schemes, a range of textile products such as shopping bags or even as Christmas decorations. As a result of their efforts, Peterborough Reuse save approximately 40,000 sacks from going to landfill a year.