One Planet Sutton

Sutton Council became the first One Planet Council in 2009, with an action plan to deliver sustainability to this outer London borough

Jobs, prosperity and planetary protection

Sutton in south London is where the BedZED eco-village and Bioregional are based. So it was a big step forward when Sutton Council became the first One Planet local authority in 2009 with a detailed sustainability action plan based on the One Planet Living framework we use.

Bioregional has worked on a range of partnership projects with the council over 20 years. Sutton’s One Planet Living commitment is a key part of Bioregional’s goal of achieving a shift to sustainability in our own neighbourhood.

Like any One Planet Living partnership, the aims are to combine prosperity, opportunity and a good quality of life for everyone while remaining within the natural limits of our one planet.

Despite a severe squeeze on council finances, Sutton has recently worked through a major update of its original action plan. This update, signed off in 2013 by the Council, has new targets and actions for the years 2017, 2025 and 2050. They are organised under five themes which relate to the ten One Planet Living Principles – cutting carbon, cutting waste, valuing our natural environment, supporting healthy communities and supporting the local economy.

These new targets and actions were agreed with local stakeholders following wide ranging consultation. They cover the council’s own operations and the way families live and businesses work in the borough. Key to making progress are partnerships with a variety of public service bodies and voluntary and community groups.

Among the targets for 2025 are:

  • Sutton’s total emissions of climate-changing carbon dioxide from residents, business and the public sector to fall by 40% from a 2007 baseline
  • Percentage of children travelling to school by sustainable transport increases from 76% (2009) to 85%
  • Increase the household recycling rate to 70% and send zero waste to landfill
  • Aim to provide a growing space to meet the needs of every resident interested in food growing by 2025, create and protect more space for nature
  • At least 30% of homes reusing or reducing water consumption by 2025
  • Space for wildlife and for growing food within the borough will increase
  • By 2025, a One Planet Centre or equivalent environmental exhibition will be created in Sutton.
  • 50% growth in people employed in the green economy and 50% growth in number of green businesses in the borough compared to 2011 baseline
  • Increase to 75% the proportion of residents believing that they can influence council run services in the area (2011 baseline is 41%)

In its One Planet Sutton progress report for 2013/14, Sutton said it had exceeded, met or was on track to meet 35 out of the 60 interim targets (58%) set for 2017. For a further nine of these 2017 targets (15%) Sutton had made progress, while for seven (12%) it was off track.

For the remainder (15%), the targets were either under review or the projects needed to deliver them were still being planned.

About the developer and partners

Sutton provides a wide range of essential services to a population of about 200,000 people with a budget in 2014/15 of £380 million, overseen by 54 locally elected councillors.