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2018 Local Government Awards: Northern Irelands "Best in Class" Winner of Excellence in Environmental Sustainability by a Local Authority

Councils throughout Northern Ireland were celebrating last Thursday (11 October) as nine award category winners of the 2018 Local Government Awards were announced.  The event was hosted by Sarah Travers at the Armagh City Hotel.

The awards are co-ordinated by NILGA and the Association of Public Service Excellence (APSE), this year they attracted an unprecendented 78 entries and showcased brilliance in service provision, new initiatives and the personal commitment from councils, councillors, staff and partners.

Speaking at the event, Councillor Dermot Curran, Northern Ireland Local Government Associations (NILGA) President said,

'Congratulations to the winners and to all the 11 councils who took time to submit entries into the 2018 Local Government Awards.

We're almost a full electoral term on from the big changes to local government.  A huge amount of hard work and vision has gone into modernising councils for local communities, businesses and visitors - as well as meeting needs of wider government and civic society.

As community impact grows and performance improves right across our 11 councils, these awards are testimony to how local government is truly at the hub of developing locally desiged solutions to local need, as well as planning for a sustainable future.  They also provide fantastic learning tools for councils, in an environment where every penny counts.

We can do things better by learning from the best.  Excellence and efficiency are things that NILGA is passionate about, and it is reflected in our ambitious councils who are celebrating strong public services delivered through local people"

The awards cover nine categories and were judged by independent panels.  Winners were announced at the Gala Awards Recognition Evening which followed the NILGA Flagship Annual Conference, 'Building Sustainable Commuities, Delivering a Better Northern Ireland For Everyone', at the Armagh City Hotel (11 October 2018).

This year Sustainable NI sponsored a new award for Excellence in Environmental Sustainability.  This award recognises local authorities that are developing new, smarter ways of working that lead to better use of resources, nurture healthy ecosystems, advance environmental wellbeing and/or tackle climate change. 

The winning entry was Environmental Stewardship by Derry City and Strabane District Council for their Collaborative Learning Initiative Managing and Adapting to the Environment (CLIMATE) project.. This project will tackle climate change on local and regional levels using models of best practice to develop climate adaptation plans for the district. This €1.3m project is part funded by the ERDF Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme 2014-2020 and Derry City and Strabane District Council is the lead partner. 

'The judges were very impressed by the standard of entries, and especially by the great variety of projects submitted.  If the principles in these projects were replicated across all our councils, Northern Ireland would be well on its way to being at the forefront of global sustainable practice.' 

With the current threat of Climate Change back in the headlines, just recently, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reporting that 'urgent and dramatic action from governments and individuals alike' is required.  Tomorrow is too late.  Local authorities and their partners have the knowledge and skills to act now and make changes in order to keep global temperatures below the limits.

Photo (l-r) Andrew Cassells (Chair, Sustainable NI), Cathy Burns (Programme Manager, CLIMATE), Cllr Thomas Kerrigan (Derry City and Strabane District Council, Sarah Travers, Cllr John Boyle (Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council)