Posted: Wednesday 7th July 2010

The sixth largest water company in England and Wales, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water, has taken a top prize at this year’s prestigious Business Commitment to the Environment (BCE) Environmental Leadership Awards for developing the first successful commercial application of ultraviolet (UV) disinfection technology to treat poor quality sewage.

The annual competition, established in 1975 by former British Rail boss, Sir Peter Parker, recognises and rewards companies which protect and enhance the environment without compromising on business performance.

Dwr Cymru Welsh Water was awarded the Process Premier Award for installing and testing UV technology at the Cog Moors treatment works in the Vale of Glamorgan. The pilot project challenged conventional wisdom that UV is only suitable for treating good quality water and proved that it can be just as efficacious in reducing bacteria and viruses in combined sewage and storm overflows. The Cogs Moor pilot project has led to a significantly reduced carbon footprint and the technology is estimated to have already led to directly attributable savings of more than £20 million.

Andrew Bowen, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water capital delivery manager said: “Dwr Cymru Welsh Water is proud to have been short-listed for these awards and honoured to be recognised as an industry leader. Our vision over the next 25 years is to strive for even higher quality standards in protecting the environment, to employ a zero tolerance approach to pollution service failures and to achieve a 50% cut in the company’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“Being honoured with a prestigious BCE Environmental Leadership Award is acknowledgement that we are on track in turning our vision into a sustainable reality,” he added.

Leading water utilities partnership, Veolia Water UK and SQS Ltd received a Major Commendation for changing industry standards and practices for sustainable construction waste recycling. Veolia Water, which supplies drinking water in the south east of England, and SQS, which provides high quality highways reinstatement and maintenance, work closely together to reduce environmental impacts. This innovative partnership has resulted in more than 20,000 tonnes of excavated streetworks waste being recycled for beneficial use and a saving of almost 2,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

The awards were presented by the BCE president, Sir Anthony Cleaver, at a ceremony on 8 June in London. He said: “Despite the continuing economic challenges, standards in this year’s competition have been higher than ever. All the winners are innovative and forward thinking, driven by a high regard for corporate social responsibility, and they set the benchmark for other businesses.”

In all, 15 finalists received recognition across a range of business and industry sectors, from large multi-national plcs to SMEs. Their common factor is that they have all demonstrated how environmental leadership can produce substantial benefits irrespective of business size.

The top award of the night, the Sir Peter Parker Award, went to leading European home improvement retailer, Kingfisher Plc, whose UK brands include DIY store B&Q and ScrewFix. The judges praised its pioneering leadership role since the early 1990s in ensuring that its wood products come from well-managed, sustainable sources.

Kingfisher joins an illustrious list of previous high-profile BCE Award winners. Over its 35-year history, the Awards have attracted some of the most influential names in industry, including ASDA, Unilever, Marks & Spencer and Rolls-Royce.

Congratulating the winners, Sir Anthony said: “The 2010 BCE Awards have once again successfully promoted the business benefits that the UK’s environmental pioneers have achieved through their ingenuity. All the winners deserve immense credit for putting environmental issues at the top of the business agenda.”

Energy and climate change consultancy, AEA, is the main sponsor of the 2010 BCE awards. Other sponsors include the Brunswick Group, E.ON, Sustainable Business magazine and WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme).

Applications for the 2011 BCE Awards are now being invited. Companies who believe they deserve peer and public recognition for their outstanding environmental performance and leadership are asked to request an application form from the BCE Awards website (www.bceawards.org) and submit it before the closing date of 11 October 2010.

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