Public sector air quality champions urged to enter Energy Saving Trust Fleet Hero Awards

The Energy Saving Trust is looking to recognise the action being taking by local authorities and public sector bodies in reducing harmful emissions in urban areas through a new Air Quality Initiative Award.

It is one of 11 categories at the 10th Energy Saving Trust Fleet Hero Awards that highlight best practice among private and public organisations that have implemented green policies to reduce their fleet’s carbon footprint and fuel costs.

Philip Sellwood, chief executive of the Energy Saving Trust, said the new air quality category was introduced to highlight the diverse approaches to tackling emissions from local authorities, as the issue had now moved higher up the political agenda.

He added that recent figures from Public Health England suggest that around 29,000 early deaths each year are attributable to poor air quality, with the cost to the economy estimated to be as high as £16bn a year. Nearly 9,500 people died in London in 2010 as a result of long-term exposure to air-pollution, while Newcastle University said pollution in the North East might be as much as 60% worse than first thought.

“The introduction of this new award reflects the rising importance of air pollution on the political and fleet agendas. I’m confident that the winning authority will have made an outstanding contribution towards improving the UK’s air quality,” Sellwood said.

The deadline to enter this year’s awards is Friday 31 July. A full list of categories, along with details of how to enter can be found at www.fleetheroawards.org.uk/judging-criteria

Winners will be announced at an event on 26 November at the London Transport Museum hosted by Watchdog’s motoring reporter Ginny Buckley, with the keynote speech delivered by transport minister Andrew Jones MP.