Middlesbrough in North East England became the second One Planet Council in 2011. Using the One Planet Living framework based on ten easy to understand principles, the council is working with a wide range of partners to deliver practical, community based projects to increase Middlesbrough’s sustainability and wellbeing.
From Environment City to One Planet leader
Almost a quarter of a century ago, in 1992, Middlesbrough became one of four ‘environment cities’ in England designated by a group of leading environmental organisations. In 2011, that green aspiration was widened into an ambition to be a leader in sustainability, embracing economic, social and environmental progress.
As a One Planet Council, Middlesbrough now uses the ten One Planet Living principles to improve its own operations and the opportunities and environment for all of the town’s residents to live healthy, happy lives within a fair share of the resources the Earth can provide.
The town has been hard hit in recent decades by the loss of manufacturing industry and population decline. One Planet Middlesbrough is a 25 year programme which aspires to grow the local green economy and jobs and reduce costs for residents while creating cohesive, sustainable and resilient communities across the town.
Much of the work is through practical, community based projects working with partners drawn from the public, voluntary, community and private sectors. Key partners alongside the council are Middlesbrough Environment City, a local charity, and Erimus Housing, a not-for-profit housing association with 11,500 homes across Middlesbrough and neighbouring Stockton.
There has been a strong focus on:
- Tackling fuel poverty (about 22% of Middlesbrough’s homes are currently in fuel poverty, having to spend more than 10% of household income on heat and power)
- Making cycling an easy and attractive way to travel
- Growing food locally and having healthier and more affordable diets. Thousands of locals come to an annual town meal based on local produce.
- Improving local habitats for wildlife.
In 2012 a partnership led by Middlesbrough Environment City was awarded just under £1 million from the Big Lottery Fund’s Communities Living Sustainably programme. This is funding a community engagement programme in Middlesbrough aimed at creating a sustainable One Planet Town by influencing the way residents live and behave.
Among the outcomes being aimed for in Middlesbrough are that local people:
- Have changed their behaviour by adopting greener lifestyle choices, thereby improving quality of life
- Are warmer in their homes, with reduced consumption of carbon-based fuels
- Are producing less waste and reusing or recycling more of the waste produced
- Are more able to make sustainable travel choices
- Are adopting a low carbon diet leading to healthier lifestyle
Working with a wide range of local partners, Middlesbrough Environment City is delivering training programmes and other support for residents, community groups and front line staff. The aim is to build addressing climate change and sustainable living into their day to day activities and decision making.
An evaluation of this five year programme will be carried out by Teesside University.
About our partners
Middlesbrough Council provides essential services to a population of 138,000 people and 59,000 households, overseen by a directly elected mayor and 48 ward councillors.
Middlesbrough Environment City is an independent charity formed in 1992 that works closely with the council on One Planet projects.