Proposed Sustainability Policy for Hexham town council.

Find below the Proposed policy proposed by the Town Plan Built Environment and Transport Group

Cllr Cleg has put up the proposal at Mondays Town Council meeting at Prospect House at 6.45pm.

    1. The Council should adopt a Sustainability Policy. To this end the draft policy [enclosed] should firstly be considered by the Planning and Infrastructure Committee and if recommended by that Committee should be put to Council for adoption.”

I beleve Bob Hull is going to Talk to the policy during the public speaking at the start of the meeting.

Myself and Barbara will be present and I hope that other members of TT will attend as this proposal will effect us all.


1. Background
Hexham, in common with all other communities, faces the global challenges of demographic change, resource constraints, increases in waste, rising energy costs, climate change, requirements of a low carbon economy and loss of biodiversity.
We are in a period of transition. We must move towards new ways of dealing with these important challenges, with new values and ideals, supported by new technology. We must build resilience in the local community to face up to these challenges.
New public expectations about the environment are obliging other local councils to adopt principles of sustainability in their areas of operation and areas where they can exert influence, in order to secure the maintenance of quality of life.
The accepted definition of Sustainable Development is: “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. This Council, in partnership with the community it serves, recognizes its responsibilities towards the environment as a whole.
Hexham Town Council is committed to caring for the environment. Already in its approach to housing and other building projects, the Council has taken a sustainability approach. It has encouraged eco-efficient buildings. It has given support to Transition Tynedale, Hexham Community Partnership (on a hydro project) and other renewable energy and energy saving projects.
This policy provides a framework for the Council to take this approach forward and provide a basis for sustainable decision making. The policy will be linked to the Hexham Town Plan process and the Hexham Neighbourhood Plan with specific actions and specified timelines. The actions resulting from these plans must include considerations of and actions for sustainability.
2. Aim:
This policy sets out how Hexham Town Council will deal with some of the challenges it faces. It outlines how it will manage its own affairs and wider relationships with others. It shows how it will seek to support delivery of Sustainable Development in all its areas of activity or influence.
In addition to putting our own affairs on a more sustainable footing, in support of County and Central Government policies and objectives, the Council will continue to support the continued prosperity, health and wellbeing of the community it serves. It will ensure sound and defensible decisions are made to support local needs. It will aim to influence wider strategic planning so that sustainability concepts and sustainable development themes are at the heart of decision making on e.g. Planning, construction and physical development.
It will aim to provide a structure in Hexham where people can experience a sound and fair society, not just from a local community perspective. This will allow the town to play its part in support of wider national / global challenges and goals for the ultimate benefit of society overall.
3. Quality of life objectives:
The quality of the environment affects our day-to-day lives and is an essential ingredient of wellbeing. We need to maintain and enhance a quality environment for future generations. One of the key objectives is to ensure our greatest asset, heritage in the natural and built environment, is maintained. This comprises not just our buildings and open spaces, but also our cultural heritage in the form of festivals and other community events which support social cohesion.
Whilst looking after our past is important the main objective is to maintain and develop a quality environment and to create a dynamic place to live in a way which encourages enterprise and growth. This requires n e w initiatives so that Hexham Town Council is seen as forward thinking in its approach to sustainability.
We will encourage vibrant events and activities aligned to sustainability to aid the community and help to build in `resilience’ and cope with a period of `transition’.
4. Quality of life powers:
Public expectation with regard to the environment and sustainability has increased to the point where it is essential that local councils adopt the principles of sustainability in all areas of operation or where the council has influence to ensure `quality of life’ is maintained.
Hexham Town Council is already committed to caring for the environment and must therefore now adopt the wider principles of sustainability. The Council, in partnership with the community it serves, recognises its responsibilities with regard to the environment as a whole in balance with societal needs and economic constraints, which together comprise the three pillars of Sustainable Development.
In addition to public expectation and meeting the requirements of European or national legislation on substantive requirements, recent initiatives encouraging change towards sustainable communities are:
• The Localism Act – places more power with communities to decide local issues
• Changes to the Planning Act – attempt to simplify the process
• Neighbourhood plans – define local needs and aspirations
All councils now have a `Power of Well Being’ to enact their requirements. LGA 2000 S2 enables a council to use the Power of Well Being which is a power of first resort.
Once enacted and a resolution has been passed, this enables a council to do anything without any spending limit which it considers likely to achieve the promotion or improvement of: the economic, social or environmental (i.e. Sustainability) wellbeing of the area.
5. Implementation:
Sustainability principles will be applied across all Council activities to the maximum extent possible and we will encourage others to do the same. To achieve this we will:
• Actively promote new initiatives that provide real benefit to the community.
• Conduct community engagement and encourage participation.
• Facilitate workshops that support Transition and Resilience building.
• Consider smarter and more cost effective ways of using our assets and facilities.
• As other councils have done we will look at creating a “Sustainability Champion” within the council who can act as a source of advice and support using external resources as required.
• Create a Sustainable Development Working Group in support of the above
• Periodically monitor and review implementation progress.
Suggested members of the Sustainable Development Working Group include:
• Nominated councillor as Working Group chair.
Representatives of community organisations and businesses
• Co-opted local residents who have expertise relevant to specific projects
Other interested councillors
6. Key Principles:
In all activities the aim will be to:
• Pursue the social, health and economic needs of the local community while minimising environmental impacts.
• Ensure local needs are met through local resources whenever possible.
• Minimise the consumption of energy, water and other natural resources and ensure that those we use are used efficiently.
• Minimise the production of waste and reduce the impact of its disposal.
• Reduce or prevent pollution and minimise emissions of greenhouse gases wherever possible.
• Protect and enhance the biodiversity of the town.
7. In the Council’s direct operations we will:
• Ensure Sustainable Development is at the heart of our strategies, projects and decision making and is built into the operation of the Council, its committees and working groups.
• Limit risk to the environment, identify and enhance sustainability issues where possible.
• Ensure sustainability is factored into local development plans and planning policies ensuring enhanced standards with any new developments and projects.
• Ensure sustainable procurement is adopted to the extent possible with suppliers.
• Ensure all employees have awareness training to encourage sound working practices.
• Follow sustainability best practice and strive for continuous improvement.
8. In our wider community relations we will:
• Foster a shared sense of purpose and responsibility in the wider community.
• Work collaboratively with local groups and others we can influence.
• Promote Sustainable Development within the community and raise awareness, e.g. at local events.
• Encourage others to behave in a sustainable manner through example and best practice.
• Use influence with our stakeholders, public bodies, businesses and individuals to encourage adoption of Sustainable Development principles and best practice.

9. Performance reporting:
Sustainable Development matters will be considered r e g u l a r l y in council meetings and as this develops, become a standard agenda/ reporting item at full Council meetings.
The Sustainable Development Working Group can in time become a mechanism for the Council to review its performance in this area to help identify and develop new initiatives.
10. Formal issue and review:
This sustainability policy for Hexham Town Council was drafted initially by the Town Plan Built Environment and Transport Group. The Council undertakes to implement and adopt these requirements wherever possible (within funding constraints) and provide assistance where necessary in support of this common objective.

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