Barking and Dagenham has received the Beacon award for its efforts to tackle climate change. The prestigious accolade was presented at an award ceremony on Tuesday 4 March 2008 at the Royal Horticultural Halls, Victoria, London.
Barking and Dagenham beat 28 other councils to the honour. The awards in their ninth year, recognises the Council's clear vision, outstanding achievement and service excellence.
The Beacon Scheme was set up to develop and share best practice in service delivery across local government.
Beacon status is granted to those Councils who can demonstrate a clear vision, excellent services and a willingness to innovate. Awards are given by government ministers based on recommendations made by an independent advisory panel.
Following the publication of the government's new Climate Change Programme and the Energy Review during 2006, which highlighted the increasing challenge of tackling climate change. Council's now have a responsibility to adapt to the impacts of unavoidable climate change and take action, to avoid severe financial, social and environmental damage in their areas.
Barking and Dagenham's work on low carbon regeneration projects such as the Sustainable Industrial Park in Dagenham Dock, Barking Riverside and Barking Town Centre Energy Action Area were praised as innovative solutions to these problems and highlighted as an area of good practice.
Our other schemes included working with council housing tenants to make them more environmentally friendly by handing out energy-efficient light bulbs and water-saving hippos.
In addition, initiatives such as the borough's annual green festival which celebrates World Environment Day and London Sustainability Weeks. The festival brings together environmental organisations to encourage everything eco-friendly from healthy eating to composting.
Our Green Champions Scheme raises awareness among employees about being energy efficient and encourages them to print less, and to turn off lights and monitors, showed clear political and managerial leadership to address climate change.
The assessors also commented that the Council 'has an excellent approach to stakeholder engagement and works effectively with key partners such as the nearby Ford motor plant'.
Councillor Geoffrey Theobald OBE, chairman of Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services, said:
"Councils are on the front line in the fight against climate change and are doing all they can to protect the environment and encourage a more sustainable way of life in our communities.
"Barking and Dagenham has shown that it takes this fight seriously and I am very pleased to see that the excellent and innovative work they are doing has been recognised with a Beacon award.
"Councils like Barking and Dagenham prove that tackling climate change can and should begin at the local level, involving local people and using their enthusiasm and desire for change to help combat global warming."