Leading public relations agency DTW and national recycling and resource management company SITA UK are celebrating a joint win after they received an award for their community relations campaign to boost the creation of renewable energy from local waste in the Tees Valley.
They were was honoured by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations at the CIPR North East PRide Awards, where the team was awarded the top award at a glittering ceremony at the NewcastleGateshead Hilton Hotel.
The award-winning community relations programme was developed and managed by DTW in support of a planning application by SITA UK for a second energy-from-waste facility (EfW) in the Tees Valley. The North East Energy Recovery Centre (NEERC) will manage up to 256,000 tonnes of household and commercial waste and produce 21MW of electricity each year, enough power to supply 36,000 homes.
DTW worked closely with SITA UK’s in-house team to devise and implement a comprehensive PR and community relations programme that addressed all the issues and targeted key stakeholders.
This included regular dialogue with council community development managers, a major clean-up of the area, a series of public consultation events in the community, tours of the existing facility and proactively seeking opportunities with the media.
Following the campaign, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council gave unanimous approval for the planning application and both the Tees Valley committee of the North East Chamber of Commerce and prominent local community figures declared their support for the project.
In selecting the winning entry, the judges said: "This sensitive topic was approached with understanding, using a series of techniques to proactively engage with the community and other stakeholders. We were particularly impressed with DTW’s strategy of media engagement, at all times highlighting the transparency of their position and their clear campaign messages."
David Harker, director of planning and property for SITA UK said: "It is important for us to work closely with local communities when we are planning new developments like this. DTW did a great job in working with us to manage our public and community relations in an extremely professional way."
Chris Taylor, director of DTW said: "Winning this award is recognition of the team’s hard work and creative thinking in what was a challenging brief. Communications in the recycling and waste industry can be complex and demanding so to achieve widespread support from councillors and community groups for this proposal was a fantastic result."
In October this year, SITA UK officially opened a £70million extension to the existing Tees Valley EfW facility. The extension’s extra capacity means the current facility can handle a total of 390,000 tonnes of waste a year, creating 30MW of electricity and further reducing long term reliance on landfill. The proposed NEERC will be built on an adjacent site.
The CIPR PRide Awards showcase the best PR work being carried out across the UK regions and set industry standards. In total, there were over 1,400 entries UK-wide this year.