The Suffolk Climate Change Partnership, which consists of Suffolk’s local authorities and the Environment Agency, working together locally with a number of other organisations including Groundwork Suffolk and the University of Suffolk, has won the Local Authority Award at the Community Energy England (CEE) and Community Energy Wales (CEW) Community Energy Awards 2018, sponsored by Co-op Energy and Bristol City Council.

Local Authority Award is awarded to the Local Authority that has done most to help local community energy organisations through partnering, investing, policy or other support.

The Suffolk Climate Change Partnership is a highly successful collaboration of local authorities that has led to Suffolk becoming the number one county for council owned solar PV. The Partnership has provided a range of support for community energy including awareness raising and planning support, funding and feasibility studies through to direct investment in installations, producing a community energy toolkit and giving in-depth advice and support to over 120 community buildings.

On behalf of the Suffolk Climate Change Partnership, Councillor Richard Rout, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for environment and public protection, said: “Winning this award is only possible due to the successful collaborative partnerships that exist in Suffolk. We are all working hard towards our aspiration of becoming the Greenest County and supporting our communities to manage energy smartly. Along with the advice and support for communities which this award highlights, we are excited by the progress being made here. For example, Solar Together Suffolk, is a scheme which has enabled local residents to purchase low-cost solar panels. Another project is BEE Anglia which supports businesses and communities to improve their energy efficiency with the support of European Regional Development funding. We’re delighted for this acknowledgement at a national level, as it is evidence that we are running creative and innovative projects here in Suffolk.” 

Mark Billsborough, Head of Renewables and Hedging at Co-op Energy and one of the Community Energy Awards 2018 judging panel, said: “It’s been an honour to judge the Community Energy Awards 2018. I can honestly say that making the final decisions was incredibly difficult. It’s clear that the impact of collaborations, like the Suffolk Climate Change Partnership, means more people are able to access the benefits of community energy and make a change for the better in our bid to become a more energy efficient society.”

The Community Energy Awards 2018 marked the culmination of the inaugural Green Great Britain Week; a new initiative from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) highlighting the opportunities clean growth offers the UK. The week also marked the 10-year anniversary of the Climate Change Act.

As part of the evening’s celebrations, Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South West of England and Gibraltar, and Robin Webster, Senior Climate Change Engagement Strategist at Climate Outreach, shared their thoughts on continued UK leadership on climate change and the role that communities can play.

Earlier in the day, Rt Hon Claire Perry MP, Minister for Energy and Clean Growth joined an afternoon conference preceding the awards ceremony, The Energy Transition: Top-Down v. Grassroots, hosted with Bristol Energy Network and Bristol City Council Energy Service. The conference focused on how communities, organisations and local authorities can work together more effectively to tackle fuel poverty and climate change.

Speaking about the Awards, she said: “The UK has led the world in cutting emissions whilst growing our economy – with clean growth driving incredible innovation and creating hundreds of thousands of high quality jobs. Ten years on from the Climate Change Act, the first ever Green GB week is a time to build on our successes and explain the huge opportunities for business and young people of a cleaner economy. I’m delighted to see how many more businesses and organisations such as Community Energy England (CEE) and Community Energy Wales (CEW) are seizing this multi-billion pound opportunity to energize their communities to tackle the very serious threat of climate change.”