On the eve of COP28 where world leaders come together to discuss climate change and sustainability goals, Chester hosted the Green Expo Awards for the North West.

Green Expo is the North West and North Wales’ regional event to celebrate and show progress on fighting climate change and achieving carbon reduction towards Net Zero, sustainability and all things Green.

Nine awards were presented, in the categories Green Startup of the Year, Innovation in Energy, in the Built Environment, Transportation, Commerce and Industry, for Learning, Community Engagement and Inward Investment to the region.

Jane Harrad-Roberts, Project Director for Green Expo said; “We have great projects, innovation and collaborative ventures in the region which make a significant difference to progress on the net zero, sustainability and green agendas; minimising climate change and achieving reductions of CO2 emissions. We need to celebrate these achievements and shout about them to an international audience, so that everyone can learn quickly from the skills we are developing here.”

The event was hosted by TV presenter formerly of North West Tonight, reporter and more recently, elected councillor for Congleton Central West Ward, Mark Edwardson. The after dinner speaker was Dr Niall MacFadyen who spoke about green jobs and skills in the region.

Green Expo Awards Dinner attendees were also able to add their voice to messages going to COP28 from Green Expo and the winning photos from the 2023 Green Expo Photography Competition were also on display at the awards. The gala dinner was prepared by the staff and students at Cheshire College South and West.

The Green Expo EA Technology Green Startup of the Year Award was won by WesGenTM for its globally sustainable, easily deployable, Hydro-Electric generators in rivers and seas. Judges said; “WesGenTM is hydro-electric generation for the 21st century, totally adaptable for river or sea use. The Bolton based company has developed a water energy system generator with an omni-directional turbine and folding blades capable of simple deployment in rivers, at bridges, in seas and retro-fitting round offshore wind turbines.”

Shortlisted were: Manchester based UrbanChain which is tackling fuel poverty and climate change by “decoupling” renewable energy from the wholesale market, cutting through layers of bureaucracy and meaning renewable energy generators no longer need to sell to intermediaries.
Concrete4Change, developing novel technology for Carbon sequestration into concrete, helping concrete manufacturers and the construction industry achieve net-zero. A carbon carrier is added to the cement mix resulting in concrete which is 20% Greener and 35% Cheaper.

The Green Expo Hynet Award for Innovation in Energy was won by Solar Together, a group-buying initiative by iChoosr Ltd. for solar panels and battery storage. The judges said; “Although group-buying is nothing new, Solar Together has the support of three Councils working together to offer residents the opportunity to benefit from ‘Solar Together Cheshire and Warrington’. The scheme will help homeowners feel confident that they are paying the right price for a high-quality installation from pre-approved installers.”

Shortlisted were Weston Handling Ltd. and EET (Essar Energy Transition)

The Green Expo Addleshaw Goddard Award in the Built Environment was won by Outerspace Group which has developed eco-friendly buildings and sustainable living spaces using cutting-edge structural insulated panels and modular construction methods. Judges said; “When they couldn’t find what they wanted themselves they set about constructing industry leading panels with high R-values. The company is reducing typical build time by a half, labour costs, and 90% less waste on-site, while offering clients a far greener and more sustainable building.” Wrexham based Outerspace Group opened a brand new 25,000ft green energy powered factory in December 2022.

Shortlisted were: Think Hire for its relocatable, renewable energy for construction sites and temporary projects. Judges said; “Thinkhire is used in particular by home builders, rail, construction and industrial companies on site, who want to improve their carbon footprint and generate power in remote locations.”
The Incrementum Housing Development Company set up and owned by Warrington Borough Council for its very low carbon homes for rent in Birchwood and Great Sankey which use solar panels and ground source heat pumps and are built to very high thermal efficiency standards.

The Green Expo Encirc Award for Industry was won by Bentley Motors which delivered its first Sustainability Report in 2022. The judges said; “The Crewe manufacturing site and Orion Park warehouse have been certified carbon neutral to PAS 2060 by the Carbon Trust since 2018 involving 40% of the factory’s electricity needs from solar power. Car charging, rainwater harvesting, allotments, honey bees and the revolutionary company-wide programme ‘Beyond 100’ have all contributed to the vehicle manufacturer’s green credentials on a global scale.”

Shortlisted were: Cygnet Texkimp in Northwich for their innovative materials recycling solution, DEECOM®, which has been developed to address the environmental impact of waste in the global composites manufacturing industry. AstraZeneca in Macclesfield and Novelis in Warrington.

The Green Expo Award for Commerce was sponsored by Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester and Warrington Borough Councils and won by Golden Square Shopping Centre in Warrington for its ‘Growing Up Green’ campaign. Judges said; “Growing Up Green saw households across Warrington sign up to save energy, local school engagement competitions, eco workshops, and the installation of hives on a shopping centre roof for more than 100,000 honeybees. It attracted the support of more than 2,000 households and gained a 2 million audience.”
Shortlisted were iChoosr Ltd. and Axis P.E.D. Ltd.

The Green Expo Award for Transport was sponsored by Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester and Warrington Borough Councils and won by Axis P.E.D. (Planning, Environment & Design) Ltd. for its comprehensive, robust and ambitious Travel Plan for the Countess of Chester Hospital encouraging choosing sustainable modes of transport, reducing carbon emissions, improving life quality, and enabling the hospital to achieve Net Zero by 2040. Judges sad; “It involves an overall reduction in parking demand by 355 spaces per day and over 33 actions for the Trust to help active travel. The Plan also engages other key city-based employers such as Chester University and Chester Zoo to explore the opportunity for shared initiatives. This plan developed to a campus wide programme from a planning submission necessity showing that the Trust embraced the concept once work was supported by Axis and it was realised how the plan could solve existing issues for the Trust.”

Shortlisted were Warrington’s Own Buses for its Zero Emission Bus Regional Area (ZEBRA) scheme, Platt’s Transport and Mersey Dee Alliance for its Active cross-border travel plan with WSP.

The Green Expo Award for Learning was sponsored by Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester and Warrington Borough Councils and won by Sherrington Associates which has pioneered the concept of sustainable leadership with its ground breaking ‘4A Model of Sustainable Leadership’. The judges said; “From 2020 Sherrington Associates has commissioned university research, assessed contemporary thinking and assembled an advisory board. The work now completed in 2023 can support HR recruitment, leadership development and peer review activities in sustainability and is being used by organisations such as The Land Trust, British Hydropower Association, Energy Networks Association, Food & Environment Research Agency and Compass Group.

Shortlisted were Reaseheath College, Cheshire College South and West for its Net Zero Passiv house at the Ellesmere Port campus and the National Communities Resource Centre at Trafford Hall for its environmentally focussed residential youth programmes for tenants.

The Green Expo Essar Energy Transition Award for Community Engagement was won by ATFest for their work on Active Travel with the national Living Streets campaign, schools, colleges and community groups, collaboration with cinema, public and private organisations, remarkable inclusivity and success in gaining the awareness of over 3.5 miliion people in and around Cheshire. The judges said; “After successfully crowdfunding the event over 100 volunteers helped on the day of the Festival in Chester which delivered the first ever Active Travel Festival, an event which inspired local residents of all ages and abilities to make cleaner, greener, healthier and sustainable transport choices in their every day lives and reduce private car use by 30%.”
Shortlisted were Chester Zoo, Warrington Borough Council for its Carbon Culture programme, Community Windpower, Cheshire West & Chester Council for its ‘Every Mouthful Counts’ work and food hubs and clubs, and Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership for its Opportunities Portal for green jobs.

The Green Expo Cheshire & Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership Award for Inward Investment was won by EET (Essar Energy Transition) which has invested in the UK’s first-ever, hydrogen-ready refinery furnace. Judges said; “This £71 million strategic investment is a vital innovation in industrial energy, designed to not only transform Stanlow’s operations in Cheshire, but to provide hydrogen for the site and neighbouring businesses across the Northwest and North Wales. This collaboration is part of the HyNet Northwest decarbonisation cluster. it will reduce the Stanlow site’s emissions 10% by 2027, 75% by 2030 and achieve net zero by 2040.”

Shortlisted were: Encirc which has been reporting on sustainability since 2011. With glass 100% recyclable, they undertake rail (70% of bottles leaving the plant) and shipping rather than road for deliveries to and from their Elton, Cheshire production facility. The judges said; “Encirc has a unique, complete, beverage supply chain solution they call ‘360’. During 2023 Encirc launched its world-leading mission named ‘Zero Energy 30’, which sees Encirc working to decarbonise significantly, by 90%, involving HyNet and a new hydrogen powered furnace with carbon capture. The company was among the first to realise that a sustainable future will also mean a successful and profitable future for the business.”
Stellantis which has built the UK’s first manufacturing plant dedicated solely to electric vehicles In Ellesmere Port. The judges said; “The plant has been transformed for EV production following £100 million investment. The upgrade forms part of Stellantis’ Dare Forward 2030 commitment to halve its carbon footprint by 2030 from 2021.” In September the first electric van rolled off the production line.