Green champions pick up awards

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A SCHOOL, hospital charity and community organisation were among the green champions recognised at this year’s Creating the Greenest County awards.

The ‘Green Oscars’ were handed out last Thursday as the county rewarded many of the communities in the county which work quietly to make their environment more sustainable.

Among those recognised was Aid to Hospitals Worldwide, which hit upon the clever idea of recycling useable but redundant hospital equipment to help Third World countries.

After careful checking, the equipment is shipped to 53 of the world’s poorest countries and, in 2011, 128 tonnes of equipment was diverted from landfill.

West Suffolk Hospital’s travel plan won the award for the Greenest Business Transport scheme.

Among the initiatives it has been encouraging are an online car share scheme and dedicated car sharer’s car park with 168 staff registering, improved cycle facilities with modernised shower and changing facilities for cyclists and walkers, free parking at Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club and a free shuttle bus to the hospital site.

The hospital also held a car-free day where staff found alternative routes to work.

Marcia Riddington, the hospital’s travel plan coordinator, said “We’re delighted that our efforts to reduce the environmental impact of travelling to the hospital have been recognised through this prestigious award.

“We will continue to work closely with our staff so that we can find further ways of protecting our environment for the future.”

Abbots Green Primary School was named among the winning schools in the Food and Drink category.

This was for its school’s farmers’ market which was started last July.

The school hold one market each term and all the children are involved in making produce which is sold to the community and the school.

Nicola Hubbard, business development manager, said: “We are extremely proud to have this award as the farmers’ market is a whole school approach and this is huge recognition of what we’ve been doing here.”

Rattlesden Community Council was recognised in the Communities category for Building, Energy and Water.

The village’s work to raise funds and build a new pavilion using green technologies won it the accolade.

The community council and village raised £430,000 for the building, which features solar panels, ventilation which prevents heat leakage and an energy efficient ground source heat pump to provide efficient heating and special sensors control lighting while the building is in use.

Essential Care, a small- scale manufacturer of organic skincare products in Mildenhall, won the small business section of the Green Business award category for its strong sustainable ethos.