Schools and community groups could see their green projects being given the red-carpet treatment with the launch of Oxfordshire’s own 2010 OSCAs.

The Oxfordshire Sustainability and Conservation Awards are again being organised by Oxfordshire County Council, with the backing of The Oxford Times, to recognise schemes that have helped improve the local environment.

There is £5,000 in prize money to be shared out among the winning projects, donated by RWE nPower. Prizes of £1,500 will go to the winner of each of the competition’s three categories. These are waste minimisation and recycling; energy efficiency and renewables; and enhancing/preserving biodiversity. The remaining £500 will be shared out amongst the runners-up.

The competition is open to any local group, school or community, with entries having to be in by Friday, June 25.

Oxfordshire County Council’s head of sustainable development, Chris Cousins, said: “This is a great opportunity for local communities to come forward and gain the credit they deserve for their environmental efforts. OSCA 2010 will reward the best green projects from recycling waste and saving energy to enhancing biodiversity.”

Contestants in each category will be judged on their originality, effectiveness, sustainability and public involvement. Photographs should be provided as part of the application, to give a general overview of the project.

Previous winners include the Canalside Environmental Group, which won the recycling category in 2006, the last time the competition was held. The project aimed to encourage recycling through organising a variety of interactive waste reduction events.

Blewbury village residents also lifted an OSCA that year for handing out energy saving light bulbs at their village open day and offering advice on conserving energy. The third category was won by children from Dorchester Primary School who planted 400 wild flowers as part of a water meadow project near Wallingford.

Entrants must fill in a form at School pupils and students should ask a member of staff to be their point of contact. Paper forms are also available from the Environment & Climate Change Team, Oxfordshire County Council, Speedwell House, Speedwell Street, Oxford, OX1 1NE, call 01865 815861.