Local Government Initiative winner - Essex County Council

edie's Awards for Environmental Excellence's Local Government Initiative winner: Essex County Council's Sustainable Essex Partnership

What the judges said: "Significant investment in increasing skills of existing staff ... not just buying in sustainability expertise.

And "Cross organisation working strengthened ... identified unidentified and addressed existing areas of weakness."

And: "Human benefits for recipients ... warmer homes and lower bills."

The Sustainable Essex Partnership leads on 17 Local Area Agreement (LAA) indicators for the Essex Partnership including carbon reduction.

This target is led on by Essex County Council and aims to deliver projects to lower community carbon emissions.

The project has also helped engender a cultural shift by raising the awareness of the importance and benefits of carbon reduction to the community.

During 2009/10 the skills and experiences of all partners were drawn upon to deliver several projects that took an innovative and sustainable approach to enabling communities to lower their carbon emissions.

These projects included:

·Free thermal imaging of homes in pilot Districts
·Smarter driving roadshows for local businesses and District and Borough Councils
·Energy monitors available to loan to households from libraries
·Energy advice surgeries held in libraries

Another project delivered training to all Home Improvement Agency staff in Essex and resulted in them becoming City and Guild qualified home energy advisors.

The partners that helped to deliver this project include Home Improvement Agencies, Supporting People, Essex County Council, and District and Borough Councils.

This project has meant that Home Improvement Agencies across the county now offer energy efficiency advice which is adapted to suit each householder's personal needs and circumstances.

This project is an exceptional example of partnership working delivered through the LAA and its innovative and customer focussed approach ensures energy efficiency advice is delivered in an accessible and sustainable way.

The Home Improvement Agencies were fully consulted in the development of the project and helped to design a monitoring form to record the benefits gained from the training.

The agencies are also able to use this monitoring form to make referrals to other organisations where other additional needs are identified.

These include energy efficiency schemes and other local services relating to health and wellbeing.

The Home Improvement Agencies carry out an estimated 500 home visits across Essex each month.

While this project is at an early stage, some households have already had energy efficiency improvements installed and many more have benefitted from advice and support.

Feedback from the agencies shows that advice has centred around controlling heating systems, accessing grants for topping up loft insulation and advising residents on preventing condensation.

This project aims to mainstream home energy improvements through partnership working.

Shortlisted projects in no particular order

Leicester City Council's Greening the Laughs

Enterprise Islington Partnership's Driving Environmental Excellence

East Lothian Council's PrintSmart

Amey & Central Bedfordshire Council

London Development Agency and Arup's Decentralised Energy Master Planning programme


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