Liberal Democrat Sutton Council - the first local authority in the country to introduce its ground-breaking environmental statement in the 1980s - has taken the latest step to endorse its green credentials. The council has agreed an updated strategy to deliver its One Planet Sutton ambitions and has reaffirmed its commitment to being a greener borough in partnership with organisations across the borough.
If everyone in the world consumed the resources that Sutton residents currently do, three planets’ worth of resources would be needed to sustain them. One Planet Living aims to reduce this to a sustainable level.
At the June meeting of the council’s Environment and Neighbourhood Committee the council agreed to keep the five One Planet Sutton themes aimed at reducing the borough’s carbon footprint. These are:
· Cutting carbon emissions
· Cutting waste
· Valuing our natural environment
· Supporting healthy communities, and
· Supporting the local economy.
The five themes are embedded in everything the council does, from targeting its work on community energy schemes, encouraging the growing of local food, and encouraging walking, cycling and use of public transport.
Sutton is currently one of only three One Planet Living-accredited boroughs in the UK. This is a framework created by WWF (formerly the World Wide Fund For Nature) and the local charity Bioregional.
Sutton Council will continue to work across all of the One Planet themes to reduce carbon emissions. By targeting resources on deliverable projects in each category Sutton Council will re-endorse its vision for the borough to be London’s most-sustainable suburb.
Over the past four years, more than £8.5m of funding has been brought into the borough to help deliver projects contributing to its One Planet Sutton targets, and the council has made over £1.9m savings from improving its use of energy. Each year the council has been monitoring targets relating to energy and water reduction, flooding, waste, local food, and transport.
The council estimates the direct financial savings of the service review will be a further £85,000 from the 2014/15 budget.
Benchmarking of Sutton’s performance by Bioregional confirms that Sutton is ranked the highest outer London borough and the third-highest London council overall in terms of having the lowest CO2 emissions.
Cllr Jill Whitehead, Lib Dem Chair of the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee, said: “We are committed to preserving our natural resources and wildlife for future generations and improving still further our residents’ excellent quality of life.
“Our new strategy will allow the council to focus its limited resources on those things which provide best value. This includes increased partnership working on projects such as community-owned solar schemes and community-led programmes to change behaviour.”
Sian Cooke, Senior Project Officer at Bioregional, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Sutton Council on its refocused sustainability strategy in order to really push Sutton’s aspirations and achieve even more. Our focus will be to help local people benefit by saving money on their energy bills as well as further reducing the borough’s carbon emissions.
“We’re also working with Volunteer Centre Sutton to find practical ways for Sutton’s volunteers to apply sustainability in their activities and to bring One Planet Sutton to new audiences.”
Sutton borough undertook to become a One Planet Living borough in 2009. This commitment is delivered by the One Planet Sutton programme, which aims to make the borough a place where residents can have a high quality of life in a way that reduces the impact on the environment. Sutton is currently one of only three One Planet Living-accredited boroughs in the UK.