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A leading South West energy lawyer has won a prestigious national award for her contribution to community energy.

Sonya Bedford, partner and head of the energy team at Stephens Scown LLP was named Community Energy Champion at the Community Energy Awards 2017 on 1 November.

The award is in recognition of Sonya’s “outstanding contribution to the advancement of the community energy sector”. Sonya supports over 25 community energy groups and was responsible for establishing the first grid consortium in the UK. 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 is studying for an MSC in renewable energy.

Robert Camp, Stephens Scown’s managing partner said: “Sonya’s energy is incredible. As well as a demanding role at Stephens Scown, where she has built up one of the biggest energy teams in the South West, she fills her spare time supporting community energy projects and sharing her knowledge and passion for the issues involved. She is so dedicated she has even gone so far as to have training in high altitude rescue of maintenance personnel from wind turbines!”

Commenting on the award, Sonya said: “Community energy is one of the most important drivers in my life, I believe it unlocks the door to so much more than just installing generation (although that is important); it unites people and finds a way of looking after a community. The future of community energy is huge and I plan on committing everything to seeing that future work. This award means so much to me.”

Sonya has also been nominated for two further awards: the Energy Institute Awards on 9 November, where she is nominated for Energy Champion, and Devon Environmental Business Initiative (DEBI) Awards, where she is nominated in the Environmental Champion category.

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

Stephens Scown has over 290 staff, including more than 50 partners, across its offices in Exeter, Truro and St Austell. It was named UK Law Firm of the Year at the British Legal Awards 2016. For more information visit