PICTURE UPDATE: Environmental winners announced at popular north Norfolk Green Build event
North Norfolk's best green projects have just been revealed at a major event taking place this weekend.
The winners of the 2011 North Norfolk Environment Awards were announced this afternoon as part of this year's Green Build event, being held in the grounds of the National Trust's Felbrigg Hall, near Cromer.
The annual event, organised by North Norfolk District Council, showcases a range of ideas for sustainable living and the awards recognise the green projects of local organisations such as schools, businesses and community groups.
The winners, judged on their contribution to the environment in four categories, are:
* Reducing Carbon Emissions: Drury's Yard, Southrepps - biomass-fuelled heating of a housing development. A dozen new-build social houses on the site are supplied with all their heating and hot water needs by underground pipe-work from a central biomass boiler. Additional private homes are due to be added to the system by the developer over the coming months. The scheme hopes to ensure protection against rising fuel costs through a fixed monthly payment. The estimated total project reduction in carbon dioxide emissions is 135 tonnes each year.
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Runners-up: Holt Community Centre, low-carbon retrofit of a community centre by installation of solar panels and insulation; Truly Local, Stalham, a Community Interest Company and high street shop sourcing only locally-grown and produced food.
* Raising Environmental Awareness: Mundesley Junior School - Food Glorious Food project to promote local food. 40 Year Five pupils have been using different ways to find out about local food. This has involved making comparisons with food from around the world, considering food miles and other issues. A local butcher visited the school for the children to get a hands-on chance at making sausages, and pupils also visited a local farm. A variety of local shops have also been very helpful, giving the children a behind-the-scenes perspective, and a local pub was involved in a competition allowing the school's children to design a meal for its menu.
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Runners-up: Kelling Primary School, garden and environmental education area project; Southrepps Commons Trust, local area wildlife survey.
* Improving Natural Spaces: Plumstead Village Pond. The pond had become overgrown with willow. Following the renovation, wildlife has returned while the surrounding area has been planted with native shrubs and an adjoining field has been transformed to a vibrant wildflower meadow. The parish council carried out the work with the help of grants in order to provide a haven for wildlife that local people could enjoy, with sturdy rustic wooden benches and mown pathways and areas for picnics.
Runner Up: Catfield Sandholes, community challenge to revamp and clear a local amenity space.
* The John Sweeney Award which this year offered up to �1,000 to organisations in the district seeking funding for new environmentally-themed projects. Joint winners: Truly Local, Stalham - for a business website, and Western Terrace Allotments, Sheringham - to install mains water to site. Truly Local has thrived since opening in Stalham town centre, despite competition from larger retail chains nearby. The shop provides a regular outlet for small and medium-sized producers within a 35-mile radius, thus reducing food miles and carbon emissions. A focus on quality, fresh local produce and friendly service has already gained the store regular customers. Organisers plan to widen its reach and want to set up a website, helping to publicise the many local suppliers who provide for the store, and eventually including a web-based ordering service for more isolated customers.
The Sheringham allotment land has been in use by local residents for over 100 years and there is an allotments association. The plots provide a source of locally-produced food for allotment holders, helping reduce food miles and carbon emissions. However, with no source of water on site, productivity is limited leading to many tenants bringing water by vehicle to the site.
The awards were introduced by council leader Helen Eales, and presented by other councillors, who were also judges. Category winners won a �250 prize and a plaque recognising their success. Runners-up received a fruit tree from the East of England Apples and Orchards Project.
Green Build, which is free and open from 10.30am to 4pm today and tomorrow, this year features a record 66 exhibitors, with talks and demonstrations on subjects as diverse as organic vegetable growing, domestic solar panels and electric bikes, 14 farmers' market stalls and eight children's entertainers.