A COUNCILLOR with a keen eye on the environment has won a major award for making South Lakeland greener.

Coun Clare Feeney-Johnson, from Kendal, won the Sustainability Champion of the Year Award in London this week.

The awards are run by the Local Government Information Unit, an independent think tank. There were over 270 entries this year.

Clare, the Lib Dem deputy leader of SLDC, is also responsible for the environment and sustainability on the council’s Cabinet.

Cllr Feeney-Johnson was one of the few district councillors to win an award. The majority went to those serving on county councils or major urban areas like Islington, Manchester and Oldham.

Cllr Johnson said: “Winning this award is a great achievement, not just for me but for the authority and the people of South Lakeland. It shows how passionate we are in providing a safe and clean environment. We will continue to do all we can to lower carbon emissions and increase recycling.”

Cllr Feeney-Johnson, who represents Kendal’s Nether Ward, helped pilot the council’s first community energy switch project. SLDC says it has seen savings of up to £700 for some residents’ energy bills.

She has also piloted projects which have helped South Lakeland notch up the lowest green house gas emissions in Cumbria with carbon emissions down 40 per cent since 2008.

SLDC saysthe work amounts to £21,000 and three tonnes of carbon saved and water savings of £21,000 per annum.

Cllr Feeney Johnson’s work and campaigning on the environment was said to have delivered ’behavioural change’ both within the council and community.

Within SLDC she established a carbon management board involving members and officers to spearhead carbon reduction projects. She was also behind the consultation and introduction of dog control orders.

Cllr Feeney-Johnson added: “SLDC piloted the first energy switch campaign and we are now running it again with increasing success. It is schemes such as this that show we are not just here to govern but to help people.”
One of the key ongoing projects is organising a new ‘collective energy switching scheme’.

It allows people or streets of neighbours to band together and then different energy companies would bid for the right to provide their electricity.

For more detail on the scheme, visit http://www.southlakeland.gov.uk/