Yorkshire Post Environment Awards: The winners turning Britain into a green and pleasant land

THE inspiring pioneers of Yorkshire's budding green revolution were honoured for their trailblazing work at the second Yorkshire Post Environment Awards.

Businesses, community groups and individuals from across the region were rewarded for a hugely impressive range of environmental activities and achievements at a ceremony at the Queens Hotel in Leeds, hosted by Julia Bradbury of BBC TV's Countryfile.

The 10 winners ranged from a firm committed to buying up and protecting an area of rainforest the size of Yorkshire, to a Dales community which funded and constructed its own 400,000 green energy plant.

They were presented with their awards by Environment Secretary Hilary Benn, who spoke passionately about the environmental transformation gathering pace across Yorkshire.

"Technology, effort and enterprise are starting to build, once more, a green and pleasant land, " he said, making reference to recent success stories like the proposed clean coal power plant at Hatfield.

"Industries of our proud past are transforming themselves into the new low-carbon industries of the future, " Mr Benn said.

The 2010 awards saw a record-breaking number of entries, numbering almost 100 in total and covering an enormous range of projects and initiatives. The Editor of the Yorkshire Post, Peter Charlton, was full of praise for the efforts on show.

"The variety, resourcefulness and sheer inventiveness of the companies and organisations who have entered have delighted and impressed all who have been involved, " he said.

"Above all, the quality and the quantity of the entries has given us the clearest possible indicator that our region is at the cutting edge of the environmental debate – and how business needs to be done in a changing world."

Prime Minister Gordon Brown sent a message of support from Downing Street, offering congratulations to all the winners and runners-up and praising the region for its moves towards a low-carbon economy. Mr Brown said: "I am delighted the Yorkshire Post has staged these excellent awards and, in doing so, recognised not only the environmental challenges we face, but the opportunities they provide for business innovation and community action.

"Low carbon and environmental industries are playing an ever-more important role in building Britain's future, with an increasing number of jobs and opportunities for businesses to grow.

"So the excellent work being done by the companies, organisations and individuals across Yorkshire, as reflected in these awards, will not only help improve Yorkshire's environment, but offer the prospect of real future prosperity and quality of life in the region."

THE WINNERS

Best Environmental Business

Sponsored by CO2Sense Yorkshire

WINNER: Bettys & Taylors of Harrogate

Manufacturer of the Best Green Product

Sponsored by STS

WINNER: Econoplas

Innovation

Sponsored by Science City York

WINNER: Partners in Innovation

Community

Sponsored by Yorkshire Water

WINNER: Settle Hydro

Young People's Award

Sponsored by Asda

WINNER:Ganton Special School

Climate Change

WINNER: Groundwork

Built Environment: Projects over 1m

Sponsored by Grant Thornton

WINNER: Regional Agricultural Centre, Great Yorkshire Showground

Built Environment: Projects under 1m

WINNER: Tenters, Netherton

Countryside Award

Sponsored by Northern Gas Networks

WINNER: Ragged Robin Conservation Group

Green Champion Award

Sponsored by the Yorkshire Post

WINNER: Tom Riordan, chief executive of Yorkshire Forward