THE best environmental projects from across County Durham have been recognised at an annual awards evening.

Durham Cathedral won two categories for the best built environment and for craftsmanship and also scooped an outstanding award for its Open Treasure exhibition.

The other “outstanding” award given out at the event last night was to REfUSE Durham, which runs a social enterprise café in Chester-le-Steet, that makes meals from food that would otherwise be binned.

The awards, now in their 29th year, are organised by The County Durham Environment Partnership to recognise great design, environmental guardianship and community spirit.

Partnership chairman councillor Simon Henig said: “The nominees and winners should all be really proud.

“Those involved make a huge difference to our county and the awards are a great way to recognise people’s achievements.”

Judges, including architects, councillors and university experts, said they were extremely impressed with this year’s entries which came from all over County Durham.

Other winners include Chester-le-Street in Bloom and Shildon Alive, which won in the community partnership category, Bishop Auckland Remembrance Garden and Belmont Allotments, which won the places and spaces category and Duresme Court, a block of student accommodation in Neville’s Cross, Durham.

Volunteer group of the year was the Friends of Flass Vale, which is based in Durham.

Individual volunteers Carolyn Stephenson, who runs a community allotmentm Ron Potter, from Belmont Allotments Project and young volunteer Ben Hopson were also recognised for their work.

Awards were also picked up by Brancepeth Beck Fish Pass, Vegetable Oil Inks, Sustainable Newton Press and Sherburn Primary School.

There was no winner in the climate change category.

Oliver Sherratt, chairman of the partnership, said: “The awards highlight the work of committed individuals and groups who contribute to making our county a wonderful place to live and visit.

“There was a real range of achievements, showcasing the innovative spirit apparent in County Durham when it comes to improving the environment.”