The awards are designed to recognise excellence in local government frontline services across the UK and are open to all local authorities and their public sector partners. They were presented by BBC journalist Louisa Preston at a ceremony in Oxford last week (7th September). Bernie Brannan, Managing Director, PPS, and Corporate Director of Communities and Housing, SBC, said: “We are very pleased that Swindon and PPS have been recognised for Public Sector Excellence for Chapel Farm Solar Park. This new and innovative use for an ex-landfill site is helping create a cleaner, greener Swindon while supporting local community initiatives; it has enabled local people to invest and earn a tax-free return through the UK’s first green energy Innovative Finance ISA; and it is providing a stable income for the Council, at a time when budgets have never been tighter.” Cllr Toby Elliott, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Sustainability, said: “Swindon is at the forefront of renewables and sustainability.
This award is a real feather in the Council’s cap and fantastic recognition for our innovative work on this project. The Chapel Farm solar offer built on the earlier success of our scheme at Common Farm in Wroughton and has contributed towards the Council’s priority of supporting a low-carbon economy. The solar park has also helped to ensure we are well on track to hitting our renewable energy capacity target of 200MW by 2020.”
PPS and SBC beat seven other local authorities on the shortlist to win the award.
Paul O’Brien, APSE Chief Executive, said, "Despite local government currently facing many challenges, these winning councils have demonstrated their ability to offer their communities excellent local services through implementing exciting, innovative projects and new ways of working. They are a credit to their communities, and should be proud of their excellent achievements."
All councils need to find new and innovative ways to fund the vital work that they do for their communities, and Swindon now has a template other local authorities can follow. As a result of the successful outcome at Chapel Farm, PPS is also working on a number of other similar projects with other local authorities.