ENVIRONMENTAL champions have four weeks to sign up to a major awards scheme.

Individuals, community organisations, businesses and schools throughout the county have until July 25 to apply for the County Durham Environment Awards, which are now in their 25th year.

The awards celebrate environmental projects and community activities that improve and enhance the local area.

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There are 12 categories of awards, including honours for volunteers, school, businesses and craftsmanship.

This year sees the creation of a new category – ‘Places and spaces’ – designed to reward schemes which create cleaner and greener surroundings as well as responding to the needs of local communities.

Individuals, organisations and groups can nominate themselves across any of the categories apart from the two individual volunteer sections which rely on nominations from others.

Terry Collins, chairman of the County Durham Environmental Partnership, said: “Environmental work is so important to the future of County Durham. The Environment Awards are an opportunity for people to showcase their work to improve and enhance the environment.

“The range of categories is specifically designed to attract a diverse selection of entrants, from individuals, volunteers and community groups, to schools, businesses and specialists.

“We want people to tell us about their work through the awards so we can give them the recognition they deserve.”

For more information on the awards, which are managed by Durham County Council on behalf of the County Durham Environment Partnership, call 03000 265545.