A leading South West energy lawyer has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Sonya Bedford, partner and head of energy at Stephens Scown LLP has received the honour for her services to community energy.

At Stephens Scown Sonya has built up one of the strongest energy teams in the South West. She was responsible for assisting in a large number of innovative projects in order to ensure the continued deployment of renewable energy including the first grid consortium in the UK, local supply initiatives and grid sharing.

In her spare time she sits on the board of five community energy groups including Exeter Community Energy, South Dartmoor Community Energy and Bath and West Community Energy and has just achieved an MSc in renewable energy.

Sonya Bedford MBE said: “I was astonished when I found out I was to receive this honour. My first thought was for my family and how proud this will make them. My work and voluntary commitments mean a lot of work in the evenings and at weekends when I’ve been away from them and to have that hard work recognised in this way means a great deal. The communities I support have achieved so much and it is a pleasure to volunteer with them.

“I’m so lucky to have a job that I love. I’m going to continue to champion and support the energy projects that are making a difference in our communities.”

Robert Camp, Stephens Scown’s managing partner added: “This recognition is so well deserved. Sonya’s knowledge and passion for the energy sector are second to none. We were one of the first law firms to introduce a dedicated energy team, and Sonya is the driving force behind it. We firmly believe that the sector has a strong future. Sonya is so dedicated she has even gone so far as to have training in high altitude rescue of maintenance personnel from wind turbines!”

Last year Sonya won a series of awards for her dedication to community energy including being named Community Energy Champion at the Community Energy Awards, Energy Champion at the Energy Institute Awards and Environmental Champion at the Devon Environmental Business Initiative Awards.

The energy team at Stephens Scown was recognised by independent guides to the legal profession Chambers UK and Legal 500. Legal 500 comments that it is a “very responsive” team with “very strong knowledge of and connectedness with the renewable industry”.