Forward thinking on addressing climate change

Published Thursday, 24th June 2021

Councillor Jayne McCoy's column for Sutton Scene, Friday 25 June 2021.

Sutton Council has long been aware of the need to reduce our impact on the planet and use the Earth’s resources sustainably. With council support, the pathfinding BedZed development in Hackbridge was built in 2002.

We are therefore proud to have continued that tradition of leading the way by directly delivering the first Passivhaus secondary school in the country – now the Harris Academy in Belmont - and the first Passivhaus Plus primary school, also in Hackbridge. And the Council is currently delivering an Energiesprong project to retrofit a number of council houses in Clockhouse to zero carbon standards. 

All of these projects aim to ensure maximum efficiency energy use. Another groundbreaking project, SDEN, again in Hackbridge, improves energy efficiency but also avoids reliance on fossil fuels. This district heating system instead uses waste heat generated as a byproduct of industrial processes.

Thanks to our diligent residents, the borough is one of the top London boroughs for recycling and we have a local scheme using an app so residents can find where they can refill their water bottles for free. A number of businesses are following our lead and have set up refill enterprises for household products including Zero Waste Sutton and Noah’s Health Foods in Wallington. The Council also now has an incentive scheme to encourage use of reusable cloth nappies.

Local enterprises are also helping us reduce food miles, like Sutton Community Farm providing locally-grown fruit and veg, and others tempting us away from meat-based diets like The Brook and the Sound Lounge.

The Council has recently joined Terracycle’s Biscuit and Snack Recycling Scheme, which means that these often wasted wrappers can now be recycled in Sutton Central Library.

Projects to encourage more people to walk and cycle help reduce the number of cars on the road, as well as making the environment cleaner and safer for everyone, and the Council offers free cycle-skills training.

The Council has also been supporting many tree-planting projects across the borough, delivering community orchards, remembrance gardens and new street trees.

Sutton has long focused on finding ways to encourage sustainability because that is what our residents told us they wanted to do. With us now facing a climate emergency, our past work puts us in a good position, but it will only be with the actions and support of residents that we can fully meet the challenge.