GREEN AWARDS FOR ECO-FRIENDLY COTSWOLD BUSINESSES

Green awards for eco-friendly Cotswold businesses.

Nine businesses in West Oxfordshire are to receive awards in recognition of their attempts to become more environmentally friendly. The Cotswolds Green Tourism project set up by the Cotswolds Conservation Board and West Oxfordshire District Council, encourages businesses to take part in a green audit, which assesses their environmental credentials and suggests efficiency measures such as reducing energy consumption, water and waste.

The businesses which range from hotels and bed and breakfasts to self catering cottages will be given bronze, silver and gold awards in recognition of their attempts to become more environmentally friendly.

Verena Hunt, member of the Cotswolds Conservation Board said:

" This really demonstrates the link between tourism and the need to protect the local environment, which is at the end of the day the key asset for the tourism industry."

Councillor Tony Walker, West Oxfordshire District Council's Cabinet Member for Tourism and Economic Development said:

"We are pleased to be involved in a project that encourages businesses to see the economic benefits of becoming more environmentally friendly. Being green can save money as well as protecting our environment for the future of the tourism industry."

Over the next two years the businesses will be invited to take part in green tourism workshops led by the Cotswolds Conservation Board and West Oxfordshire District Council. The project will culminate in two years' time with a final audit and a second set of awards.

All participating organisations will also be taking part in a 'visitor payback scheme' called Step into the Cotswolds, which will encourage tourists to contribute to a fund that will help conserve and enhance the AONB.

The media are invited to a press call on the day of the awards ceremony at the Crown and Cushion Hotel in Chipping Norton on June 1st at 11.15am. The ceremony will start at 11.30am and there will be an opportunity for interviews and photographs afterwards.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

The Cotswolds Green Tourism Project consists of two main elements:

The Green Tourism Business Scheme

Step into the Cotswolds - A Visitor Payback Scheme

The Green Tourism Business Scheme is a national initiative where businesses pay for a green audit. More information can be found at www.green-business.co.uk.

The Cotswolds Green Tourism Project aims to encourage businesses to take part in a green audit by subsidising their cost.

Any businesses interested in getting involved should contact Chris Jackson at Oxfordshire District Council. Tel: 01993 861563.

Tourism South East provided some funding for the project.

The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is cared for by the Cotswolds Conservation Board - an independent organisation with 40 members, 17 nominated by local authorities, eight by parish councils and 15 appointed by Government.

The Government has designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and National Parks as our finest countryside and they are recognised as being of national importance.

With its rolling hills and valleys the Cotswolds is the largest of 40 AONBs in England and Wales and is protected to ensure that its beauty and special character are conserved. It covers 2,038 square kilometres (790 square miles), stretching from Warwickshire and Worcestershire in the north, through Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, down to Bath and Wiltshire in the south.

Contact: Claire Cunningham.

Information and Interpretation Officer.

Cotswolds Conservation Board

The Old Police Station Cotswold Heritage Centre Northleach Gloucestershire GL54 3JH

Tel: 01451 862000 Website: www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk