Press release: P.E.A. Award winners 2015

Around 400 people attended this year’s P.E.A. Awards, in association with Mongoose Energy. This year marked the fifth anniversary of the green carpet awards ceremony that recognises sustainability champions from around the world.

Individuals and teams from up and down the UK – from Aberdeenshire to Cornwall – were honoured for setting new standards for sustainability, in sectors ranging from business and shopping to re-wilding and education.

Commenting on the event, Jan-Willem Bode, MD of Mongoose Energy, said ‘The PEA Awards ceremony in Brighton was that rare combination of inspiring, exciting and great fun. It made me proud to be a part of this movement, and I am looking forward to working with even more of the fantastic people who are doing great things.’

The Great British Oceans Coalition swept up, bagging the International P.E.A. Award for Nature, The P.E.A. Award for Team and the Global P.E.A. Award for NGO. The team was also named the 2015’s Overall P.E.A. Champion 2015 for a tireless campaign that has resulted in the UK government agreeing to create the world’s largest marine reserve around the Pitcairn Islands.

Clare Brook, CEO of the Blue Marine Foundation (part of the Great British Oceans Coalition), said, ‘The whole GB Oceans team was beyond thrilled to win four PEA Awards, including Overall Champion 2015. 
‘It’s truly gratifying to have our hard work and achievements rewarded so resoundingly by the PEA Awards.  It will give our campaign a huge boost and ensure that everyone – particularly the UK government – continues pay attention.
‘We have already achieved so much this year in getting the world’s largest marine reserve designated around Pitcairn and a manifesto commitment to create a ‘blue belt’ around the 14 UK Overseas Territories.  But there is still so much to be done, and these awards have given us all the strength and determination to ensure that Britain leads the world in ocean protection.
‘I felt so proud to be able to collect the PEA Awards with my children (Lucy aged 12 and Sam aged 9).  Because this campaign is all about them – about the younger generation – ensuring that we reverse the destruction of their biodiversity.  This is their planet, and we should hand it to them in a decent condition.’

Two new awards were added to this year’s roster: Britain’s Greenest Family, sponsored by Yeo Valley family farm, and a Nature award, sponsored by Big Nature, to recognise the anniversary of Brighton & Lewes Downs’ UNESCO-designated Biosphere status.

Jarvis Smith, founder of the P.E.A. Awards, said, ‘The theme of this year’s P.E.A. Awards ceremony was Revolution. For me, that means people – from the ground up – taking responsibility and actioning the changes that this world so badly needs. I am thrilled that we’re able to recognise and honour tonight’s award winners, who are leading the charge in the shift to a more conscious existence.’

The event pulled together all arms of Brighton’s community; Douglas McMaster from Silo – Brighton’s zero-waste restaurant – put the three-course vegan menu together, and the food was delivered by Cashew Catering, Lewes. Food was sourced by the ethical supermarket, hiSbe, with Brighton’s Bison Beer Crafthouse, Boho Gelato and Miss Muffin Top providing drinks and desserts.

Sponsored by Yeo Valley

Winner: Jacqueline Saggers (Royston, Hertfordshire)

After growing up on a battery chicken farm that had been in the family since 1600, Jacqueline’s husband Simon was inspired to do things differently. The family has embarked on the life-long task of establishing an organic smallholding.

‘The Saggers family is a great example of what can be achieved when you stick with a vision and disrupt the norm. It’s not easy to do, but it’s extremely valuable – and the pioneering spirit has led to a complete transformation in the Saggers’ family life.’


Winner: Fiona Byrne, teacher, St Luke’s Solar School (Brighton)

Over two years, St Luke’s crowdfunded £13,700 from the local community to buy solar panels. The primary school now has a 9.7kwp solar rig on its canteen roof, and is committed to using the panels to teach students about renewable energy and the environment.

‘Glamorous new eco-homes may get all the attention, but we mustn’t forget the importance of retrofitting when it comes to lifting the standard of existing buildings. The solar rig at St Luke’s is a great example of how new technology can improve existing structures.’

Sponsored by Interface

Winner: Lorna Milton, Élan Hair Design (Inverurie, Aberdeenshire)

Is this the UK’s most eco-friendly hair salon? Following a £250,000 refurb including LEDs lights, solar panels, a switch to renewable energy, a carbon management plan and recycling programme, the salon has cut costs and boosted profits.

‘Élan Hair Design is a great example of how to do things differently on the high street. Hair salons traditionally rank pretty low in the sustainability stakes due to the intensive use of water and chemicals, but this is a great example of how the sector’s impact on the environment could be mitigated.’


Winner: Emma Whitlock, Fylde Beach Care Officer, LOVEmyBEACH (Wigan)

In Fylde LOVEmyBEACH works with seven committed groups who remove litter from their favourite beaches. The campaign’s challenge is to work together to keep our local beaches and bathing waters clean.

‘This is classic grassroots community action: the beaches are dirty, so let’s get on with it and clean them. As an island nation, beaches are an evocative symbol of the state of the environment; most of the waste that ends up on the beach is the detritus of urban consumption coming back to haunt us.’


Winner: Lin Swords & Lydia Keys, project leaders, Blooming Marvels (Stanford Le Hope)

Last year, Lin and Lydia were appalled that, due to council budget cuts, there would be no Christmas tree for the Town of Stanford Le Hope Essex. They have been fighting to improve their community ever since – from reinstating hanging baskets to developing allotments.

‘Action isn’t just about writing letters of complaint to the council, it’s about taking matters into your own hands. For the Blooming Marvels team it started with a Christmas tree and evolved into something with a much broader impact on the community.’

Sponsored by Mitsubishi Ecodan

Winner: Warren Carter, Moulsecoomb Forest Garden Project, project manager, Queensdown Woods (Brighton)

The woods that back onto this project have become an essential part of its outdoor classroom. The open college uses the woods to help teach some of Brighton’s most troubled youngsters, who can now earn themselves up to GCSE-equivalent qualifications.

‘Queensdown Woods is a great example of how pioneering education projects – such as Moulsecoomb Forest Garden and Wildlife Project – are giving birth to new offshoots that have real impact on the area and the people who live there.’

Sponsored by Mitsubishi Ecodan

Winner: Rob Sandercock and Dr Dan Danahar, Dorothy Stringer School (Brighton)

This school has tackled the major themes of what it means to be sustainable and is always on the lookout for ways to improve and educate the present and next generation.

‘Dorothy Stringer School’s focus on sustainability is genuine – it runs through the whole school on all levels. It’s refreshing and inspiring to see how an understanding and appreciation of Nature can be woven into the curriculum with such success.’

Sponsored by Good Energy

Winner: Will Cottrell, chairman, Brighton Energy Co-op (Brighton)

Will Cottrell founded Brighton Energy Coop in summer 2010 after being inspired by community windfarms in Denmark and community solar projects in Germany. In the last four years Brighton Energy has raised £680,000 investment to fund 544kwp of solar PV in the Brighton area, and was able to pay back a £50K loan three years early.

‘Brighton is a hotbed of pioneering innovation, and the Brighton Energy Co-op is proof that community solutions are tomorrow’s world.’


Winner: Nina Emett, founding director of FotoDocument, One Planet City (Brighton)

This not-for-profit arts education organisation makes positive social and environmental initiatives visible through the powerful medium of world-class documentary photography installed in high-profile public spaces.

‘It’s wonderful to see the arts used in such a positive way and not locked up in galleries. The variety of locations was incredible for both the accessibility – on the seafront, at the train station, in the open market – and the fact that collaboration would have been required with every sector in the city.’


Winner: Bruce Davis, Louise Wilson, Karl Harder, co-founders and directors, Abundance (London)

Any project funded on Abundance has an environmental benefit, in that it either
improves energy efficiency, generates clean energy, or both. All projects also generate a return for society, and capital is quickly recycled into new projects.

‘Abundance is the first real community engagement, out-of-the-box finance project, and it’s really helping to shake up the sector. Who doesn’t want to help build a better world with their investments?’

Sponsored by Big Nature

Winner: Philip Thompson, The Living Garden (Brighton)

Philip started ‘gardening for wildlife’ from the day he moved into his house 15 years ago. Now, as many as 6 species of butterfly and a number of moth species actually breed in Philip’s garden as a direct result of the presence of their larval host plants, which have been planted or introduced by Philip.

‘Even a postage stamp-sized garden can inspire neighbours – it’s all about taking responsibility for what’s in your own back yard. The Living Garden, with its butterflies and wild orchids, has an infectious effect on anyone who sees it.’

Sponsored by Big Nature

Winner: Charlie Burrell, Knepp Castle (Shipley, West Sussex)

Knepp Castle Estate, near Shipley, West Sussex comprises 3,500 acres, almost all of which is now given over to re-wilding. With its heavy clay and small fields the land was never suited to intensive agriculture so, in 2003, owner Charlie Burrell made the bold step of turning the entire estate over to a pioneering conservation project.

‘The Knepp Castle project has done something astonishing: it has given farmers the opportunity to go back and think about stewardship and how they do things. It’s an innovative approach that required a big leap of faith.’

Sponsored by Big Nature

Winner: Dr Martin Warren, chief executive, Butterfly Conservation (Dorset)

Butterfly Conservation is targeting efforts in 73 key landscapes, working with hundreds of landowners and partner organisations to manage habitats to enhance existing populations, restore former habitats and reconnect populations.

‘If they got us to download the app and count butterflies, then they must be doing something right! Butterflies are a key indicator of biodiversity – and this charity is doing great work to help manage and restore their fragile habitats.’

Sponsored by Big Nature

Winner: Great British Oceans Coalition team (London)

Working together, The Pew Trusts, RSPB, Marine Conservation Society, The Blue Marine Foundation and Zoological Society of London recently celebrated the government’s commitment to create the world’s largest marine reserve around the Pitcairn Islands. Just under a million square km of the South Pacific will forever remain pristine ocean.

‘By working to protect the 6.8 million square kilometres of ocean for which the UK’s responsible, the Great British Oceans Coalition is helping to conserve an area 30 times bigger than the UK itself. Protecting these ecosystems will have a huge impact on biodiversity.’


Winner: 10:10 team (London)

From its work with Balcombe, the UK’s poster child for fracking, to its award-winning solar schools initiative, 10:10 is now working alongside voluntary sector buildings in Manchester, schools in Chile and mosques in London.

‘This is a campaign that was meant to end on 10 October 2010 – and five years later it’s still going strong. Everyone knows 10:10’s work, even though the team doesn’t always necessarily make a song and dance about it.’


Winner: Cool Earth team (Cornwall)

Cool Earth is a charity that works alongside indigenous villages to halt rainforest destruction. 90% of funds go directly to its projects; for every £1 spent on fundraising the charity raises £11.48.

‘As the Cool Earth team says, saving the rainforest isn’t a new idea – but managing to do it is. The charity’s figures are impressive, and support the idea of leaving key decisions to the local people who know their environment best.’


Winner: Great British Oceans Coalition team (London)

This coalition comprises seven like-minded NGOs that champion the creation of the world’s first generation of large fully protected Marine Parks in UK overseas territories.

‘Charities have their own targets and goals and can often forget they’re part of a wider group of people fighting for the same overarching goals. This coalition goes to show how effective NGOs can be when they come together.’

Sponsored by

Winner: Keith Harrison, managing director, Newlife Paints (Rustington, West Sussex)

Each year, 50 million litres of paint go to waste. After some years of development, Newline Paints now produces a decorative paint range of some 28 colours, which contain at least 90% recycled paint.

‘This is a great story about a retired chemist who found 25 half-cans of paint in his shed and wondered how many homes in the UK have the same problem. He dedicated his time to developing a solution, and the result is a great product that could have a huge impact.’

Sponsored by Simply

Winner: Miss Roshni Assomull, co-founder, Bella Kinesis (London)

For each item sold by this ethical women’s sportswear brand, the company funds one month’s business education for a woman in rural India through a partnership with the Mann Deshi Foundation.The sportswear, designed to suit women of all body shapes, is made in the UK with premium-performance fabric from Italy.

‘Helping to elevate the status of women in rural India will have a domino effect that could help to bring about greater equality. Bella Kinesis is promoting healthy body images and encouraging activity and empowerment.’


Winner: Great British Oceans Coalition team (London)

This coalition is an example of how a group of teams can achieve more together when they unite as one. Seven like-minded NGOs championed the creation of the world’s first generation of large fully protected Marine Parks in UK overseas territories.

‘This coalition of NGOs is an incredible example of effective team work in action. Teams from RSPB, The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Zoological Society of London, the Blue Marine Foundation, the Marine Conservation Society, Greenpeace UK and the National Geographic Society have pooled their expertise to incredible effect.’

Sponsored by Bison Beer Crafthouse

Winner: Lewis Knight, Bioregional, project manager, Bicester Eco-Town (Bicester, Oxfordshire)

With North West Bicester as the catalyst, Eco-Bicester has worked to embed sustainable development throughout the fabric of the whole town. It’s designed to be easily replicable and can be used by all local authorities, particularly in places where new developments are proposed.

‘New towns and new buildings can be executed so poorly – it takes a lot of dedication, time and commitment to pull something like Eco-Bicester off. This important project would be relatively straightforward to scale up – and that would have a massive impact.’


Winner: Bio-Bus team (Bristol)

The Bio-Bus, developed by UK-based company GENeco, is the first bus in the UK to be powered by gas derived from food, sewage and commercial liquid wastes. The bus can travel over 300km on a full tank of gas – produced by the annual food and sewage waste of just five passengers.

‘Bio-Bus is completely off the wall – it’s a one-off, but it’s a great one. This project goes to show there’s no such thing as ‘waste’; with a bit of imagination we could clean up the way we think about fuel for good.’

Sponsored by VisitBrighton

Winner: Señor Andres Hammerman, co-owner, Black Sheep Inn (Ecuador)

This eco-resort has a firm spot on the sustainable tourism map, in part because of its dry composting toilets, grey-water treatment, eco-building techniques, organic gardens, rainwater catchments, native tree planting and full-scale recycling – but mostly because of its community projects.

‘As well as being an established high-end eco-resort, Black Sheep Inn is heavily involved with the local community and conservation efforts in the area. The building is an inspiring example of what can be achieved when sustainability is built into a company’s DNA.’


Winner: Great British Oceans Coalition

‘What a year for the Great British Oceans Coalition! This group of NGOs has achieved something incredible: following a long campaign, the UK government has decided to create the world’s largest marine reserve around the Pitcairn Islands.

‘Oceans touch every continent around the globe and, in the UK, we’re never further than 70 miles from the coast. They’re the source of where we’ll be most affected by climate change, so resolving issues in the ocean will have a huge knock-on effect.

‘A huge congratulations to the Great British Oceans Coalition for its hard work and fantastic collaboration.’


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