Launched in 1989 by Media Natura to promote excellence in environmental reporting, the BEMAs have become a hugely popular and important event to give recognition to the critical role that the media plays in communicating the importance of protecting the environment. WWF took over the running of the BEMAs in 2001. Details of the winners are as follows:
Shell Renewables Award for Best Television News and Current Affairs Coverage
This award went to BBC1's Countryfile Compilation. Alistair McGowan noted that "the judges felt that the winning entry showed a particularly strong range of stories combined with very good reporting and a clear emphasis on solutions."
Best Television Documentary
Dox Productions, whose documentary The Day the Oceans Boiled was shown on Channel 4, won this award. The judges commended it as a truly excellent piece of documentary making. It features lively, engaging and quirky characters to remind us about the serious issue of climate change without lecturing.
Richard Keefe Memorial Award for Best Documentary on Sustainable Development
BBC Wales won this award for its film Ape Hunters. There were no shortlisted entries as the judges felt that there was only one clear winner.
Alistair McGowan, said: "The winning film dealt intelligently and sensitively with the complex issues surrounding the bushmeat trade in Cameroon. The judges wanted to commend the director and crew for working in what must have been incredibly difficult, and at times, unnerving conditions."
RSPB Award for Environment Journalist of the Year
Geoffrey Lean, freelance journalist and environment editor for the Independent on Sunday (which won the Calor Gas Award for Newspaper of the Year), was the recipient of this award. Alistair McGowan said that he "showed a sparkling return to form, cleverly linking issues on the environment to issues of topical concern." The judges were pleased with large number of entries this year and the fact that environmental reporting has returned to a number of newspapers.
Calor Gas Award for Newspaper of the Year
The judges were unanimous in their choice of the Independent on Sunday as the winner of this award. This was underscored by the fact that, given the outstanding nature of the winning entry, no other candidates were shortlisted.
The judges commended the paper's journalists for their, "investigative approach and real perseverance in covering their stories." They felt that the newspaper has a consistent, long-term approach to covering the environment.
"The Independent on Sunday demonstrated a real commitment to communicating and covering environmental issues," said Alistair McGowan. "Through its campaigns and approach the judges felt that the newspaper was increasing interest in the environment among new audiences."
Canon Award for Photojournalist of the Year
This new award went to Simon Burt for his GriM Reaper image, which depicts the figure of death in a field of GM crops. The judges said that the photograph, "catches the attention, has an immediate impact and needs no explanation."
Award for Best Coverage of Environmental Issues by a Consumer Magazine
Geographical Magazine's Liberian Logs Fuel War beat off stiff competition to win this award, with a dramatic and horrifying tale of how the plunder of the rainforest in Liberia is financing a domestic war and arms trafficking.
Alistair McGowan said: "Unusually the article names names, mentioning people who have, allegedly already made fortunes from arms and drugs smuggling. Bearing in mind how powerful and ruthless some of these individuals are reported to be, the panel thought this was a brave and impressive action."
Edelman Award for Best Environmental Website
This is one of two awards won by Hove and Brighton Council for its innovative Ninelives project: www.ninelives.tv. The judges felt that it was fresh, creative and involving and should be copied by other councils. The site was easy to navigate and the messages of sustainability were tied in nicely throughout.
Northumbrian Water Award for Best Radio Feature or Current Affairs Programme
This award was won by BBC Essex for its radio feature Planet Essex. Alistair McGowan praised the piece, saying: "This snapshot of life in Essex highlighted issues at both a local and global level and made the environment lively and accessible to radio listeners."
Redwood Award for Best Environment Campaign
Hove and Brighton Council's, Ninelives project was the winner of this award, as well as the Edelman Award for Best Environmental Website. Ninelives took nine people who were given help to identify three areas they would like to change from a set of nine life skills such as environmental awareness and time management. They were supported in achieving these goals over nine weeks by experts such as an Environment Education Officer and an Energy Conservation Officer. The nine people recorded a video diary of their experience, parts of which are shown on the Ninelives website.
Alistair McGowan said: "The judges were unanimous in selecting this entry as the winner for this award on the grounds of its outstanding originality and creativity. They felt it was an inspiration to councils up and down the land."
Andrew Lees Memorial Award
The judges awarded this year's Andrew Lees Memorial Award to Don Staniford. They commended him as a pre-eminent campaigner on the ecological, economic, consumer and safety issues associated with the fish farming industry, particularly in Scotland.
He was a significant influence in persuading the Scottish Parliament to hold a formal inquiry into fish farming, has written a widely praised Friends of the Earth critique of fish farming in Scotland and uncovered proof that fish farm workers were being ordered to use illegal chemicals.
The Andrew Lees Memorial Award was set up by a group of environment correspondents in the 1990s to honour the memory of a committed environmental campaigner who was always aware of the role the press can play in highlighting green issues.
Chris Rose, Chairman of Media Natura, said: "Don is in many ways in the mould of Andrew Lees - single-minded and passionate about the causes he believes in. His persistence, commitment, investigative skills, and willingness to share and explain his findings with the environment press make him a worthy winner of this year's award."
Environment Minister Michael Meacher received this award for being a politician who has a real knowledge of and passion for environmental issues that transcends short-term political ambitions and popularity.
Robert Napier, Chief Executive of WWF-UK, who presented the award, said: "Michael Meacher has shone a light on what really needs to be done to save the Earth - by governments, by business and all of us who depend on its rich diversity."