Wicklow County Council has announced the winners of its annual Tidy Towns and Environmental Awards.
The environmental awards recognise best practice projects in a range of topics covering Climate Action, biodiversity, protection of resources and prevention of waste. Prize winners included Tidy Towns groups, schools and businesses.
While the national Tidy Town Competition was postponed in 2020 groups throughout the county remained active, caring for our towns and local environment and delivering new projects on sustainability and biodiversity.
It was a challenge for communities in Wicklow to keep projects going when COVID-19 restrictions limited opportunities to work together.
Many projects had to stop and preparations for the summer Tidy Towns campaign were temporarily halted. Groups went online to organise their work, often working individually on projects and coming together to carry out planned projects outdoors when easing of restrictions allowed.
With more people out and about in their local communities over the last year, this led to many new volunteers requesting litter clean-up materials, revamping green areas on estates or undertaking a project to protect local biodiversity.
All of the 29 Tidy Towns groups continued to work with local businesses to present main streets and town centres at their best.
Hollywood, Dunlavin and Greystones were judged best in county during the summer. Litter management was excellent, planted areas well maintained and shopfronts had clearly received some attention and work done during lockdown.
Cll Pat Kennedy, Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, congratulated the Tidy Towns groups and other award winners thanking all who gave their time to care for their communities in 2020 and who have contributed to projects that build a more sustainable future for all of us.
Estates also featured in the competition and standards were very high this year with many reporting increased involvement and an increasing solidarity with neighbours looking out for each other.
A greater focus on making space for biodiversity featured in estates and green areas were left unmown for pollinators. Brennan’s Parade in Bray and John Paul Ave in Arklow won the top awards.
Mr Frank Curran, Chief Executive, Wicklow County Council, thanked all the groups involved saying 2020 was a key year for Wicklow with Climate Action increasingly in focus. He noted that community groups have a vital role in mobilising citizen engagement for Climate Action.
Three schools received awards: Scoil Realt na Mara in Brittas Bay; Sacred Heart in Aughrim and Ballycoog NS.
Businesses recognised included Poppies of Enniskerry; Healthy Matters in Bray and Wicklow Wines – all leading by example in the move towards a more sustainable economy.
Climate Action included Arklow Tidy Towns work with local industries to offset carbon emissions and tree planting with schools and residents while Laragh worked to engage the local community in energy efficiency and renewables through the Sustainable Energy Communities programme. Arklow also received a water conservation award.
Greystones Tidy Towns took the Biodiversity award for its planting at the Shoreline Leisure Centre and incorporation of pollinator friendly planting in schemes across the town.
Ballycoog Tidy Towns, Blessington Tidy Towns and Greystones Kilcoole Community Garden received landscaping and gardening awards while Delgany Tidy Towns was recognised for its citizen science approach to monitoring and protecting the Three Trouts River. The rebuilding of the old blacksmiths by Knockananna Tidy Towns was also recognised.
Reservoir Cogs in Blessington won the waste minimisation award for their thorough greening of their annual cycling event with Bray Crafters also recognised for reuse of materials in their crafts.Download the Wicklow County Council Tidy Town, Estates and Environmental Awards Report