Former Minister to speak at Post awards

SHADOW Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Caroline Flint, is the headline speaker at this year’s Yorkshire Post Environment Awards.

The awards recognise the contribution of businesses, schools, individuals and community groups to the region’s green economy and are now open for entries. Full details and online entry form

“The UK is on the cusp of a new industrial revolution that is shaking up the old world order,” the South Yorkshire MP said.

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“It is about creating a new economy that is cleaner, leaner and more competitive and that provides the energy we need.

“Yorkshire must be at the heart of this revolution.

“The Yorkshire Post Environment Awards are a great celebration of all of the businesses, schools, individuals and community groups in Yorkshire that are at the cutting edge of this energy industrial revolution and I’m delighted to be speaking at this year’s awards.”

Ms Flint has been a staunch critic of the coalition Government’s green credentials.

In a Commons debate on jobs and growth in a low carbon economy, she said Britain under Labour had been “open for green business” but the country was now faced with an economy “without growth”.

Nearly one million people, she said, already worked in environmental industries in the UK with the potential to create 400,000 more jobs.

But the UK had fallen from third in the world for investment in low carbon businesses to 13th, behind countries such as China, Germany and the US.

She added: “We are concerned that Britain is being left in the doldrums.

“We must get on board or risk missing out on growth, job creation and revival of Britain’s manufacturing sector.”

Closer to home, Ms Flint is holding an event for constituents later this month to help them save money on their energy bills.

The 50-year-old mother-of-three was an influential figure in the last Government.

She was elected MP for Don Valley in 1997 and went on to hold a number of ministerial roles with portfolios including Europe, housing, employment and welfare reform and public health.

She was also Minister for Yorkshire and Humber from 2007 to 2008.

The Environment Awards programme is now in its fourth year.

Last year, Leeds-based dairy giant Arla Foods picked up the coveted award for Best Environmental Business for its work reducing carbon emissions throughout its operations.

Past winners of the award are Yorkshire Bank in 2009 and Bettys & Taylors of Harrogate in 2010.

Other winners include Settle Hydro, a £400,000 green energy plant funded and constucted by a Dales’ community, and Ganton Special School, for the way it bounced back from floods which devastated Hull in 2007.

The not-for-profit environmental consultancy CO2Sense is the main sponsor of this year’s awards. The Leeds-based company helps businesses and public sector organisations to cut their greenhouse gas emissions and their costs.

Joanne Pollard, chief executive, said: “We’re clear that the low-carbon sector could play a big part in growing the economy by helping British businesses to cut their costs and target new global markets.

“So I’ll be interested to hear Caroline Flint’s view about this week’s Budget statement, and to hear what her party would do to give businesses the help and incentives that they need to invest in low-carbon projects that deliver reliable, long-term benefits.”

The closing date for entries is Friday, March 30. Prizes will be awarded at a ceremony on Thursday, May 10.

As well as receiving a trophy, all winners will be featured in a special supplement in the Yorkshire Post.

Editor of the Yorkshire Post, Peter Charlton, said: “We want to reflect the innovative and sustainable practices being adopted across the spectrum of society, and reward those that are behind them.”