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."
Best Environmental Business
Sponsored by CO2Sense Yorkshire
WINNER: Bettys & Taylors of Harrogate
Manufacturer of the Best Green Product
Sponsored by STS
Sponsored by Science City York
WINNER: Partners in Innovation
Sponsored by Yorkshire Water
WINNER: Settle Hydro
Young People's Award
Sponsored by Asda
WINNER:Ganton Special School
Built Environment: Projects over 1m
Sponsored by Grant Thornton
WINNER: Regional Agricultural Centre, Great Yorkshire Showground
Built Environment: Projects under 1m
WINNER: Tenters, Netherton
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