The Environment Agency is celebrating its 10th anniversary by asking the public to vote for what they believe is the most iconic environmental symbol. The bicycle is on the shortlist. But, then again, so is the hedgehog...

Best eco icon: the Thames Barrier or the bicycle?

Twelve Icons of the Environment have been shortlisted by the Environment Agency’s 13,000 staff. They include the bicycle – in at number six – as well as the Eden Project and the Thames Barrier.

You can vote for your fave icon at the ICONS – A Portrait of England website, a not-for-profit organisation set up by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

The bicycle was nominated by Kevin Baker, in external relations at the Environment Agency, and the interestingly-named new technology project manager, Bogus Zaba.

They wrote: "The bike is the definitive symbol of sustainable development – incorporating clever technological solutions with minimal impacts on the environment and positive health benefits to the user. It is highly accessible to a very wide range of users from very young to very old, poor to rich. Provision of facilities for cyclists has, in the last few years, generated unique green transport links in what were often depressed urban landscapes."

The twelve nominated icons are:

1. Dartmoor
2. Eden Project
3. Hedgerows
4. Bluebell Woods
5. Barn Owl
6. Bicycle
7. Hedgehog
8. Thames Barrier
9. Salmon
10. Wind farms
11. Otter
12. Recycling Logo

From the Environment Agency:

"There is a continuing need to reduce the environmental impacts of some forms of transport – particularly road and air travel – and to promote more environmentally friendly transport options such as cycling, public transport and walking. We are the government’s principal adviser on the environment and although we have few formal transport powers decisions taken in transport policy have environmental impacts which affect our role in managing air, water and land, and in responding to climate change. We also want to play our part in reducing the day-to-day impacts of our own business on the environment, so we have developed a Green Transport Plan. This includes cutting emissions from our business motoring in half by 2007, trialling biodiesel in our fleet vehicles, and providing staff with incentives to cycle to work."

More info here.

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