This report provides a review of the current offer and options for the future scope and strategic direction of the council’s sustainability approach.
The Committee considered a report on the Sustainability Service Review. It was recognised that the Council had a strong and enduring commitment to proactive action on advancing the sustainability agenda as manifested in the council’s Corporate Plan of 2014/15 to 2017/18. However, in the light of the need to make budgetary savings, the service had been further reviewed.
The Committee received a presentation on One Planet Sutton which set out the challenges and service options. The council had adopted One Planet principles and targets in 2009, which had been further refined at the Environment and Neighbourhoods Committee in November 2013, to recognise the changed financial situation for local authorities.
The report provided a review of the current offer and options for the future scope and strategic direction of the Council’s sustainability approach.
One of the proposals was to withdraw from the EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) which had been in operation for twenty years but was expensive to maintain. Only four councils including Sutton continued to adopt EMAS, and this required a full time member of staff to monitor and gather information on detailed targets. It was recommended that resourcing for environmental risk management should be focused on the areas of greatest legal and compliance risk rather than through EMAS. As One Planet covered all aspects of the council, other departments already monitored and audited targets which were collected for bodies such as Transport for London and the Government.
A discussion ensued on how successful the One Planet Sutton Scheme had been in Sutton in encouraging behaviour change, in bringing in outside investment of £8.5m and making savings for the council of £1.9m in energy bills. This work had been carried out in conjunction with external partners in the voluntary, public and private sectors. Members offered examples covering each of the five one planet themes of cutting carbon emissions, cutting waste, valuing our natural environment, supporting healthy communities and supporting the local economy.
There were future plans for a community energy scheme which involved wider use of solar energy especially in schools. Such projects were also being considered across London, and the Chair reported that these had been discussed at London Councils where Sutton seemed to be a leader in this field. It was reported that officers were looking into a range of options for photovoltaic (PV) projects including community owned PV on school buildings and that any project proposal requiring a policy decision or investment would be brought to the committee in due course.
1. That Option A (as set out in the published report and Appendix C) is endorsed as the delivery model for the future structure and strategic directions of the sustainability team and the One Planet Sutton programme. This would save the council an estimated £84,700.
2. That the technical amendments to the 2017 One Planet Sutton targets (as set out in Appendix B to the report) be agreed.
3. That the One Planet Sutton priority targets to receive proactive monitoring and support from the sustainability team (as set out in Appendix F to the report) be agreed.
4. That future minor amendments to the One Planet Sutton targets be delegated to the One Planet Sutton board, in consultation with the Chair of the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee.
5. That Sutton Council withdraw from EMAS, to be replaced with service-led responsibility for environmental risk management.