The on-going efforts to create an environmentally-friendly and sustainable community in Bicester have been rewarded at a national awards ceremony.
Cherwell District Council and sustainability charity Bioregional collectively took the Best Town/ City award at the P. E. A. (People. Environment. Achievement) Awards which recognise efforts by individuals and organisations to support a green agenda. To take the accolade, Cherwell and Bioregional had to demonstrate measures which had been implemented to reduce the carbon footprint of the town.
Cllr Barry Wood, leader of Cherwell District Council, said: “What makes the work in Bicester so unique is the size, scale and way in which we are working to achieve sustainability. We are not just playing it safe by replicating one or two schemes which have been tried and tested before; we are learning from others to develop new and innovative ways to achieve the most sustainable results. This approach obviously carries some risks as we have no benchmark to measure against and no blueprint to follow. However the risks are turning into rewards and are clearly paying off as the work in Bicester receives yet another highly-regarded national accolade with a P. E. A. award, cementing our belief that the town remains at the forefront of UK sustainability.”
Bicester had been shortlisted for the award alongside other towns/ cities including Bristol and Brighton but took the title for the work which had taken place to embed sustainable development throughout the entire town with designs that could be easily replicated by all local authorities. The judges stated that: “New towns and buildings can be executed so poorly; it takes a lot of dedication, time and commitment to pull something like Eco-Bicester off. This important project would be relatively straight forward to scale up and that would have a massive impact.”
In their submission, Cherwell and Bioregional highlighted some of the work which had taken place to promote sustainability, including the boiler cashback scheme, launch of the Bicester Bike Loan scheme and the development of award-winning social enterprise Bicester Green.
Bioregional’s Bicester Eco-town project manager Lewis Knight said: “Bioregional have been working in Bicester for five years and we’re very proud of all the progress made. We’re delighted to have been presented with this prestigious award and hope to continue working with Cherwell to make Bicester one of the greenest towns in the world.”
The P. E. A. awards were launched by Jarvis Smith, co-founder of the Europe’s largest ethical life and business magazine, PQ, to recognise the crucial contributions of inspirational people and organisations that are making a difference to the green agenda. For more information visit www.peaawards.com