The Lord-Lieutenant for Hertfordshire, The Countess of Verulam, visited Willmott Dixon’s Letchworth Garden City head office to meet chief executive Rick Willmott and praise the company for being one of only a few to achieve a Queen’s Award for Enterprise this year.

The visit allowed The Countess of Verulam, who was representing HM The Queen, to present Rick Willmott with a scroll and commemorative bowl in recognition of receiving the prestigious accolade, regarded as the best in UK business.

Based at the Spirella Building, Willmott Dixon is one of Letchworth Garden City’s biggest employers as well as being one of the largest privately owned contracting, development and property support groups in the UK. It became the only contractor this year to receive a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the category of sustainable development.

The judges’ decision to grant a Queen’s Award included the fact that Willmott Dixon invests ‘£1 million annually for improving skills and social fabric in local communities’.

Other key factors included;

• An investment in local communities of £1.1m in 2012

• Being the first construction company to achieve carbon neutrality and attain the Carbon Trust Standard

• 87% of housing units complying with the Life Time Home Standard

• 88% of construction projects achieving at least an EPC B rating

• Reducing the percentage of waste sent to landfill from 40% in 2007 to 5% in 2012

• Pioneering low-waste, low-carbon, building structures and reducing the embodied carbon from materials

• Investing over £1 million in the 4Life Academy in Birmingham to train over 4,000 people a year

• Creating a standardised system for building public buildings which is cutting the cost of new school buildings by 30%

• Sharing knowledge through leadership and participation in industry groups

Willmott Dixon’s Group Chief Executive, Rick Willmott, said: “It was an honour to receive a visit from The Lord-Lieutenant for Hertfordshire to recognise our award. We have invested considerable time and money over many years to ensure sustainable development is part of our culture and values, and you can see this in the output of what we build.”