Inaugural awards in Bristol sees Oxford LEZ, Optare, Emissions Analytics, Great Ormond St Hospital and Ben Coakley emerge victorious
Oxford’s Low Emission Zone and Chiltern district council’s air quality officer were among those recognised at the inaugural National Air Quality Awards 2015, with a tree planted in the name of each of the five winners.
The awards, organised by AirQualityNews.com in partnership with the Institute of Air Quality Management (IAQM) and charity the British Lung Foundation, were held at the Grand Hotel in Bristol last week (October 22).
The audience first heard from IAQM’s Claire Holman, who – after delivering a presentation on LEZs around the globe at the Routes to Cleaner Air conference earlier in the day – gave a run through of several Bristol inventions, including the world’s first chocolate bar, made by J.S. Fry & Sons.
Then, AirQualityNews.com editor in chief Steve Eminton took to the stage to present the winners with their awards, with each having a tree planted at Heartwood Forest in Sandridge, Hertfordshire, alongside a certificate and a potted bonsai tree to take home.
Oxford city council and Oxfordshire county council were the first winners of the evening, with the city centre’s Low Emission Zone for buses named Local Air Quality Initiative of the Year.
Sponsored by Eminox, the award recognised the significant impact of the LEZ on Oxford’s nitrogen dioxide levels, with zero breaches of the national objective for NO2 in the area since its implementation in 2013.
Next up, the Best Air Quality Communications Campaign award went to Cool World Consulting and Great Ormond Street Hospital in London for their ‘Clean Air Yeah!’ project, which has put an end to engine idling by ambulance drivers and increased the number of visitors travelling by low or zero emission transport.
Emissions Analytics has made national news this year on the back of its real-world driving emissions test programme, and the firm was a deserving winner among stiff competition in the Innovation in Air Quality Technology Award, sponsored by Shawcity.
Bus manufacturer Optare was awarded the Passenger Transport Air Quality Award, sponsored by Emissions Analytics, for its zero-tailpipe emission electric buses, which are used throughout the UK in the likes of York, London, Manchester and Coventry.
Optare’s commercial director, Robert Drewery, commented after the event that he was “delighted that our electric buses have won another prestigious industry award” adding that the firm is “committed to embracing the environment by working alongside the, DfT, SMMT, TfL, LowCVP, operators and local authorities to ensure sustained successful operation of greener busesâ€?.
Finally, with the last category of the evening – Air Quality Champion of the Year – being the only award dedicated to a single person, presenter Mr Eminton noted the high levels of anticipation among the audience.
And, despite tough competition from Ruth Calderwood and Fiona Daly, it was Chiltern district council’s air quality officer Ben Coakley who emerged victorious as the 2015 Champion, for his contribution in raising awareness of air quality among local residents over the last 15 years.
Ben started working at Wycombe district council in 2001, launching its first air quality website and designating one of the UK’s first Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) on a stretch of the M40 motorway. He then moved to Chiltern council a year later, focusing further on online communications and forging partnerships with other authorities in the region.
The full list of finalists for the National Air Quality Awards 2015 is: