Cherwell District Council (Posted 31.01.15)

Joint campaign in Oxfordshire considered for national award.

A partnership project to promote sustainable living in Bicester has been included in a list of contenders for a national award.

Cherwell District Council and sustainability charity Bioregional have jointly been named as a potential finalist in the Ashden Awards for their Energy Smart EcoBicester campaign.

Born from the council’s One Shared Vision initiative, Cherwell and Bioregional developed a range of initiatives under the campaign to promote the benefits of energy efficient and low carbon living across all of Bicester.

Cllr Debbie Pickford, Cherwell’s lead member for housing, said: “After North West Bicester was identified as the location for an ecotown in 2010, Cherwell developed the One Shared Vision to promote the concepts of sustainable living across the whole of Bicester. From there, we launched the Energy Smart EcoBicester campaign in partnership with Bioregional to actively promote and assist residents, businesses and organisations in Bicester with reducing their carbon footprint and improving their energy efficiency.”

“In delivering this campaign we adopted various approaches to be as inclusive as possible so that existing residents, businesses and community groups were able to reap the benefits alongside those occupying the newer, more sustainable developments. We are delighted that our campaign been successful in delivering this message and subsequently recognised at a national level.”

Ashden is a charity that champions the use of sustainable energy to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon world. In submitting their application for consideration, Cherwell and Bioregional had to highlight successful projects to date.

This included the Bryan House project to design and build 23 energy efficient and affordable homes and the delivery of the John Paul II community centre, which is one of the UK’s largest PassivHaus civic building in recognition of its energy efficiency.

Other community projects included the delivery of the zero carbon sixth form extension at Cooper School and the Green Living information centre which was built to the energy efficient PassivHaus standard to promote the benefits of energy saving to residents.

Away from community projects, the Energy Smart EcoBicester campaign also targeted residents of existing properties in Bicester, with schemes such as the energy monitor and thermal imaging camera loan scheme highlighting heat loss in individual properties.

Residents interested in improving energy efficiency were invited to apply for subsidised cavity and loft insulation, a subsidised boiler replacement scheme and a free Green Deal assessment to highlight key areas for improvement.

Nicole Lazarus, Eco Bicester programme manager for Bioregional, said: “Bioregional has been working with Cherwell since 2010 to bring a whole diverse range of smart energy saving projects to Bicester and we thrilled to be a part of this international recognition. We know that all of these projects are bringing to life the vision for low carbon living in Bicester.”

Cherwell and Bioregional have been included on the longlist of 15 organisations/ partnerships for the awards, with the shortlist due to be announced in March ahead of the awards’ evening in June. For more information on Ashden or the awards visit