Norwich’s eco heroes to be honoured

The Norwich Eco Awards aim to celebrate those organisations and companies doing their best to help make the city a cleaner, greener place to live. Entries are now open, and JON WELCH found out more.

If you have done anything, big or small, to make our city a more environmentally-friendly place then the Norwich Eco Awards scheme would like to hear from you.

You may have transformed your school garden to encourage biodiversity or introduced a waste-free rule to cut down on what you send to landfill.

Maybe you've reduced how much energy or water your school or business uses, or perhaps you've been spreading the eco message through getting the community involved.

Categories for the awards, co-ordinated by Norwich City Council in partnership with the Evening News, are: eco school, eco community group, eco small business (fewer than 50 staff), and eco large business (more than 50 staff).

All entries will be put forward for the special eco hero title, which recognises the hard work of an individual or group to improve the city, making it a cleaner and safer place to live and work in.

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That award was won last year by Natalie Halsall of City College Norwich, who was taken on as travel plan co-ordinator and environment officer to help the college with plans for its major redevelopment.

A few weeks later the college found out it was set to lose out on funding for the new buildings, but Miss Halsall was kept on to help the college's staff and students be more green in every aspect of their lives.

She helped oversee a 40-50pc increase in the number of staff and students using buses, the setting-up of a car-sharing scheme and a scheme allowing young people to use park-and-ride buses for 50p.

She said: 'Winning the eco hero award and getting recognition for the college has opened up so many new positive avenues here at City College.

'It has helped us achieve leadership in setting up new environmental management practices as well as implementing them with help from the ever-growing team of staff and student eco-warriors.

'It has encouraged local businesses to support us with actively helping us engage, enhance, and develop our surrounding environment for the future of our staff, students and visitors here at City College.'

Victoria MacDonald, city council cabinet member for environment, said: 'These awards are the perfect opportunity for people to tell us all about the good things they've been doing to make Norwich a more eco city. We want as many schools, community groups and businesses as possible to come forward and tell us about what they've been doing, and reward them for their contribution to sustainability within the city.

'It's essential for everyone in Norwich to get involved with eco issues – not only will positive actions help to improve the area they live in, but also for future generations who will live there.'