Stroud District Green Party is celebrating with Green Cllr Simon Pickering (cllr for Slade Ward), who has just been shortlisted for the Sustainability Award, one of the prestigious Councillor Achievement Awards sponsored annually by the Local Government Information Unit. A staunch advocate of sustainability measures over many years, Cllr Pickering became Executive Member for the Environment following the elections in May 2012. He lost no time in putting forward well-constructed practical proposals to invest £½m in carbon reduction measures. Most significant of these is a hydro-generation scheme at Ebley Mill within the next 2 years, which will reduce the Council’s energy bills and bring an income of £30,000 p.a. A technically complex scheme, it will also provide a template for other mill owners in the 5 valleys to develop hydro schemes in the future.">Cllr Pickering achieved agreement for SDC to invest £12m on renewable energy heating systems (air source heat pumps and solar panels) in its own housing stock. This will be targeted on council houses with the lowest efficiency ratings and will bring over 1000 households out of fuel poverty by halving their fuel bills. It will reduce CO2 by 50%, create numerous local jobs and bring £7m+ income to the Council over the next 10 years, reducing the need for increases in Council Tax rates. In addition, Cllr Pickering took on responsibility for the implementation of the new District-wide recycling scheme which, in spite of some initial teething problems, has been a great success. It has increased dry recycling by nearly 50%, created new jobs and is saving SDC £100 per extra tonne recycled (total savings of £450k p.a. for SDC). Cllr Pickering also practises what he preaches on carbon reduction as he cycles to every council meeting and around his ward. Cllr Pickering said:“I am delighted to be shortlisted for this award. Since becoming part of the Administration at Ebley Mill, Green councillors have put forward a number of measures to enhance sustainability in the District and we have been supported by our Labour and Lib Dem colleagues in moving these forward. Being shortlisted for the Sustainability Award recognises these achievements. The national winners of the Councillors’ Awards will be announced in late February.