This week we celebrated the annual MOD Sanctuary Awards and, as we come to the end of the Year of Green Action, it provided a great opportunity to reflect on our responsibility to preserve and nurture our estate.
Over the years, the awards have expanded to recognise the wider sustainability agenda and this year we invited entries to five categories; Heritage Project Award, Sustainability Project Award, Individual Achievement Award, Environmental Project Award and the Utilities Project Award.
The winners of each category were then considered for two further awards. The coveted Silver Otter trophy is awarded to the project that is deemed most impressive by the judges and the Sustainable Business Award is presented to more commercial projects that have achieved particular success in ensuring sustainable solutions that deliver against our commitment to enable the Armed Forces to live, work and train.
This year’s event was hosted by DIO Chief Executive Graham Dalton and took place at MOD Main Building. Here's a rundown of the winners.
Environmental Project & Silver Otter winner
The Silver Otter and Environmental Project award was won by the Bird Trapping Steering Group which operates in Cyprus, including the Sovereign Base Areas (SBAs). The area is recognised as a hotspot for illegal bird trapping in the Mediterranean, with the use of non-selective trapping methods resulting in the inhumane killing of millions of migratory birds.
In 2016, it was estimated that 800,000 birds were killed during the autumn season in the SBAs using illegal methods. There has been a significant decrease since 2016, and during the last two seasons 21 individuals were successfully prosecuted, some receiving fines as high as €6,600 and seven receiving suspended jail sentences.
Utilities Achievement & Sustainable Business Award winner
Congratulations to the Fuel Efficiencies and Emissions Reduction Project team, based at RAF Brize Norton, who picked up both awards for their work to embed sustainable behavioural change to reduce fuel usage and carbon emissions by 2 Group aircraft.
The project looked at factors including the way 2 Group fly, how they are tasked, how their aircraft perform, how much fuel they carry and how they reduce their carbon footprint. Industry advise that no other Air Force has delivered such benefits with such rapidity.
Heritage Project Award winner
The Sandhurst Block Project at Catterick Garrison won the 2019 Heritage Project Award. The team’s goal was to create modern, fit-for-purpose office space for 21st century soldiers in the Grade II listed 1930s building.
Around 750 historic timber sash windows were refurbished to include modern draught-proofing and meet MOD requirements for protection from explosions. Great care was taken to maintain original features as much as possible, while still making sure the new facility would meet modern requirements and be suitable for the needs of today’s soldiers.
Sustainability Project Award winner
A big well done to the Project Anvil team for winning the Sustainability Project Award. Project Anvil was a major infrastructure investment project to improve existing facilities at RAF Marham station for the arrival of the F-35 Lightning stealth aircraft.
The key sustainability elements of the construction process included the reinstatement of an abandoned freight train station and use of a freight train for the delivery of 241,147 tonnes of materials to site. This reduced the distance travelled by lorries by 87%, halving the carbon emissions associated with delivery. The project achieved 100% diversion from landfill of excavated materials with 320,000 tonnes of materials processed and then re-used on site.
Individual Achievement Award winner
Congratulations to Operation Nightingale’s Dickie Bennett for winning the Individual Achievement Award. Operation Nightingale is a MOD initiative established in 2011 that aims to assist the recovery of wounded, injured and sick military personnel and veterans through archaeology. Dickie Bennett founded Breaking Ground Heritage, which provides veterans and logistics support to Operation Nightingale.
Dickie’s dedication to the programme and to the mental health requirements of others provides an outstanding example for all. Dickie has mentored large numbers of Service Personnel on their journey to recovery, with much of this work taking place on the MOD estate.
As the UK’s third largest land owner, the MOD takes its obligation as responsible stewards of its estate very seriously. The Sanctuary Awards give a great platform to showcase the dedication and hard work that goes in all over the world to preserve and protect the Defence estate. Thank you to everyone involved and well done to all of this year’s worthy winners!