First green conference for Suffolk

A MAJOR conference aimed at encouraging Suffolk's population to become the “greenest” in the UK takes place tomorrow - with more than 300 people due to attend.

By David Green

A MAJOR conference aimed at encouraging Suffolk's population to become the “greenest” in the UK takes place tomorrow - with more than 300 people due to attend.

Suffolk - Creating the Greenest County was the idea of the county council and it is attracting support from throughout the community - from parish councils to companies.

Its first conference, being held at Trinity Park - on the Suffolk Showground - will be chaired by John Gummer, Suffolk Coastal MP and former Environment Secretary.

It will include a keynote address by another former environment minister, Michael Meacher.

Other speakers include Clare Goodess from the University of East Anglia's world renowned climate research unit and there will also be seminar sessions for in-depth learning and discussion about particular issues.

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Iain Dunnett, project manager, said: “The conference will be celebrating Suffolk's existing green achievements and setting out the aspirations and goals for the future.

“The Creating the Greenest County initiative is already making waves both regionally and nationally.

“Over the last few months the project team has been developing targets, projects and programmes that will help to deliver this ambitious aim for the county.

“The conference will publicly launch these targets and will challenge businesses, community organisations and agencies to take part.” Mr Dunnett said the Creating the Greenest County project was a shared vision for sustaining a new approach to environmental issues.

“Everybody in business, communities, schools and as individuals has a part to play in improving our local environment,” he said.

The conference will include the launch of new Suffolk awards for greenest communities, businesses and schools.

“This is an opportunity to showcase excellent sustainable best practice across Suffolk, and for the award winners to act as champions mentoring organisations within their sector looking to improve their environmental performance,” Mr Dunnett said.

Sponsors for the awards include British Telecom, the Environment Agency, SLP Energy, MLM Consulting Engineers and Blue Star Skips Limited.

Taking a look at the business category, the awards will recognise where a business has reduced its environmental impact, or where a market opportunity has developed through a product that reduces environmental impact. Similar innovation in schools and communities will also be recognised.

“This will not be a 'Green Oscar' to simply put on the shelf, but will involve each business, school and community as a champion for the best practice they have shown.

“A kite mark recognizing their efforts will then be used by each award winner and their work will be profiled on the web site An awards ceremony will occur at a date to be confirmed,” Mr Dunnett said.