In a ceremony held this afternoon at the House of Commons the Chartered Institution of Water & Environmental Management announced the winners of its 2014 Green Ribbon Political Awards, which are partly voted on by parliamentarians themselves. The Green party’s Caroline Lucas, the MP for Brighton Pavilion, won the Best Parliamentarian award. The Grey Ribbon Award for “environmentally destructive” contributions went to communities secretary Eric Pickles, the MP who famously believes cyclists wear “rubber knickers” and who wants no more “war on the motorist”.
CIWEM said Lucas won the award for her indefatigable campaigning: “From flooding to fracking, no person has done more to raise the profile of environmental issues and wider sustainability concerns within Parliament. Since becoming the first Green Party MP in 2010, Caroline has effectively represented the green movement as an articulate and passionate campaigner on the environment, social justice and human rights.”
The MPs on the panel abstained from the vote for the worst parliamentarian but “the rest overwhelmingly voted for one candidate among a strong field of ministers,” said CIWEM. “George Osborne, Owen Paterson and Nick Boles all received earnest consideration but none even came close to Eric Pickles.”
Pointedly, CIWEM went for both the man and his ideas:
“The judges were impressed by the sheer weight of the Communities Secretary's all round contribution to undermining the Prime Minister’s stated ambition. He has dismantled energy efficiency measures, playing a big part in turning the flagship Green Deal into a shambles. He has called in and turned down many applications to exploit wind energy. He was one of the architects of the national policy Planning Framework which – in spite of being modified in the face of public opposition – has put villages all over the country under siege by speculative developers. And his brief stewardship of the Government effort to combat flooding last winter ended in farce when he attacked the Environment Agency, which was dealing with it on the ground.”
HRH Prince of Wales was awarded “most inspirational figure internationally”, for his efforts ceaselessly working to raise awareness of sustainability in relation to agriculture, forests, fisheries and the built environment for more than forty years.
Chris Packham’s video diaries “massacre on migration”, which highlights the plight of migrating birds crossing the Mediterranean every year, has been voted “best environmental campaign by a journalist”. The impact of these seven short films posted as a YouTube diary resulted in a House of Commons debate on the “UK policy on protection of migratory birds in Malta”.
Since becoming President of Gabon in 2009, President Bongo Ondimba has been committed to green issues, re-evaluating the countries development strategy to emphasise sustainability. The President has increased funding to National Parks by $16 million/year and deforestation in Gabon has dropped below 0.01% a year, in what is the world’s second most forested country. These efforts have earned him the “best environmental achievement internationally” award.
Client Earth fought off competition from Greenpeace, WWF and WaterAid to win the “best environmental campaign by a Non-Governmental Organisation” category for their successful legal challenge to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for failing to produce plans that will bring air quality within legal standards by 2015.
The event was hosted by Joan Walley MP, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee and was supported by the All-Party Parliamentary Environment Group.