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Winners at Holyrood’s Climate Action Awards 2023 announced

The winners on stage | Andrew Perry

Winners at Holyrood’s Climate Action Awards 2023 announced

Environmental campaigner Laura Young and an ambitious forestry project entirely managed by young Scots were among the winners at Holyrood’s 2023 Climate Action Awards.  

The awards ceremony, which took place at The George in Edinburgh and was hosted by Dougie Vipond, featured inspiring tributes to key players across technology, nature, and the circular economy spheres, and highlighted Scotland’s progress towards Net Zero, two years on from Cop26 in Glasgow. 

Among the winners were The Scottish Young People’s Forest and Nature Scot’s nation-wide Peatland Action project, which scooped the Youth Champion and Nature and Environment Awards respectively. 

Laura Young, who has won a multitude of awards for her campaigning on disposable vapes, was named Holyrood’s 2023 Circular Champion. She said that it felt “fantastic” to be recognised for her campaign.  

She also paid tribute to the “countless” politicians and “supporters behind the scenes” whilst calling for attendees to make their voices heard in an upcoming consultation on banning single use vapes launched in mid-October. 

The inaugural Seas and Coasts Award went to Argyll-based Seawilding – the UK's first ever community-led native oyster and seagrass restoration project. Nature photographer Phillip Price, who accepted the award on behalf of the group, expressed his “delight” at winning, alongside an impassioned “plea for greater action” to protect vulnerable coastal habitats against the effects of climate change. 

Environmental campaigner Dr Richard Dixon picked up Holyrood’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Dixon, who currently serves as board member for Environment Standards Scotland, said he was “honoured and humbled” to be recognised for his contribution to climate justice.  

Posting to X, he paid tribute to the “great people” who had supported him in his 30 years of climate policy and leadership roles, which saw him attend the first ever Conference of Parties (COP) in Rio de Janeiro in 1995. 

Editor of Holyrood magazine and managing director of Holyrood Communications, Mandy Rhodes, commented: “We originally launched these awards during the optimism that was generated during COP26 in Glasgow in 2021. Since then, we have seen climate targets missed here in Scotland, the prime minister rolling back on his green credentials, controversial oil and gas exploration licenses issued and an acceleration in the need for action on climate change. 

“The war in Ukraine, the energy crisis, and the cost-of-living crisis all bring competing challenges but we cannot let any progress stall. While saving the planet may feel like too big a problem, an existential issue, for any of us as individuals to do anything about, we do all have a part to play. 

“The judges for the awards were so impressed with the high standard of entries, and it was a tough job to narrow it down to the shortlist.” 

Full list of winners 

Nature and the Environment Award in association with Autonomous iOt: Peatland ACTION, Nature Scot  

Technology and Innovation Award in association with Lloyds Bank: District Heat Network, East Lothian Council  

Circular Champion Award in association with Zero Waste Scotland: Ban Disposable Vapes Campaign, Laura Young  

Climate Community Award in association with Sustainable Scotland Network: Going Greener Together, Greener Kirkcaldy  

Youth Champion Award: Scotland's Young People's Forest, YouthLink Scotland, Young Scot, Woodland Trust, Green Action Trust  

Seas and Coasts Award: Seawilding Native Oyster & Seagrass Restoration 

Lifetime Achievement Award in association with Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks: Dr Richard Dixon 

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