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The full sustainability strategy for Herefordshire

Community Strategy for Herefordshire:
                                                                                                                        A sustainable future for the
UK’s sustainable development strategy, ‘Securing the
Future’: www.sustainable­­
                                                                                                                        Herefordshire Council’s Sustainability
Regional Sustainable Development Framework (RSDF)
for the West Midlands:
                                                                                                                        2006 - 2009

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                Putting people first   | Promoting our county | Providing for our communities | Protecting our future
Herefordshire Council has agreed a strategy that       natural resources prudently and the whole                 Crucial to the transition to sustainable               The primary aim of Full House is the provision of
will guide and strengthen its contribution to the      council has achieved certification to the                 performance is sustainability accounting –             used but usable furniture to low-income families.
sustainability of the county. Its purpose is to co­    international environmental management                    sometimes termed triple bottom line accounting         In light of this, customers in receipt of benefits
ordinate the diverse work of the Council so that       standard ISO 14001. Its planners are developing           because it includes social and environmental           take priority, especially when demand for ‘core’
the principles of sustainability apply across all of   a rigorous sustainability appraisal methodology           performance as well as financial. Herefordshire        items such as cookers and beds is high. As well
its strategies, plans, policies and actions.           that will underpin future spatial planning the            Council is developing such reporting to serve as       as this social contribution it also serves a
                                                       county. It has invested in a multi-million pound          a benchmark for future council sustainability          positive economic purpose: helping people back
The result is that Herefordshire will have a                                                                     performance.
                                                       scheme to bring higher and further education to                                                                  into work. Its team of around ten paid staff is
Council that continually:
                                                       a single campus. The Council’s electricity                                                                       supplemented by Community Service Volunteers
■	 Co-ordinates its work across all directorates       demand is met by a ‘green’ energy supplier; and
                                                                                                                 Sustainable development objectives for Herefordshire   and community payback work placements as
   to move towards the key characteristics of          there are many more examples. See ‘Case                                                                          well as regular, dedicated volunteers.
   sustainable communities in Herefordshire, in        Studies’ for an indication of how such projects           ■	 Protecting and enhancing its outstanding
   accordance with government guidelines (see          can offer multiple social, economic and                      landscape and high quality rural environment        The environmental benefits of reusing and                            environmental benefits.                                   ■	 Encouraging policies and plans that support         recycling the items are clear; Full House also
                                                                                                                                                                        applies environmental standards to its operation
■	 Manages its assets and uses resources in a          For a local authority, the sustainability imperative         access to essential facilities and sustainable
                                                                                                                    transport, especially for rural settlements         including running two of its vehicles on bio-fuel.
   sustainable fashion, and buys goods and             presents particular challenges and opportunities.
   services according to an agreed sustainable         As a body with boundary-spanning                          ■	 Providing and caring for an increasingly            Between April 2005 and March 2006, Full House
   procurement policy.                                 responsibilities across the county’s                         ageing population.                                  made 2,518 collections, reflected in sales
                                                       environmental social and economic life it is                                                                     revenues of approximately £90,000, around 60%
■	 Operates more cost-effectively as a result of                                                                 ■	 Creating educational and economic
   both efficiency gains and new opportunities         uniquely well placed to grasp the opportunity to             opportunities.                                      of which were to benefit-receiving clients. The
   for synchronised working derived from a             meet sustainability objectives across all three                                                                  same period recorded 1,017 hours of
                                                       areas – and grapple with the three-way                    ■	 Promoting investment and engagement in              community service and 1,276 volunteer hours.
   more integrated approach.                                                                                        learning and skills.
                                                       complexities that this task presents.                                                                            Total mass of goods saved from landfill was 745
This sustainability strategy is inspired by and                                                                  ■	 Supporting the vitality and viability of town       tonnes. All profits derived from furniture sales
builds on the Community Strategy for                   Herefordshire Council is confronting this
                                                                                                                    centres and market towns.                           are reinvested back into the company’s
Herefordshire. This top-level plan for the county      challenge by creating a whole-council approach
                                                       to sustainability: identifying ways of integrating        ■	 Improving health and reducing health                activities, although Full House still relies on
sets out a vision for Herefordshire on behalf of                                                                                                                        external support.
                                                       sustainability into the plans and strategies that it         inequalities.
all members of the Herefordshire Partnership:
                                                       produces, and into the actions and thinking of
Herefordshire will be a place where people,            Council officers. It is also pioneering methods
organisations and businesses working together                                                                    Herefordshire must also strive to address              Case study: Sustainable schools
                                                       for coordinating and aligning sustainability              national objectives including:
within an outstanding natural environment will         principles across these plans, strategies and                                                                    Children’s understanding is crucial to
bring about sustainable prosperity and well            actions – and across directorates – which is no           ■	 Use natural resources such as water and             sustainability. National initiatives such as Healthy
being for all.                                         small task. It is expected that this will produce            minerals efficiently; reduce waste levels and       Schools, Eco-Schools and Sustainable Schools
                                                       efficiencies in time and cost as well as a more              increase recycling.                                 acknowledge this, and Herefordshire Council
Community Strategy activities are steered by
five guiding principles, including the need to         sustainable county.                                       ■	 Address climate change by reducing overall          supports its own schools’ efforts in these areas.
“integrate sustainability into all our actions” in                                                                  energy use and increasing the proportion of         One example is Staunton-on-Wye Primary
order to “maximise community, environmental                                                                         energy generated from renewable sources.            School, which has a long-established vegetable
                                                       Ongoing action plan
and economic benefits, operate within                                                                            ■	 Encourage sustainable purchasing.                   garden that was set up with financial help from
environmental limits and contribute to a better        The full strategy document details the                                                                           the Council through the Healthy Schools fund
                                                                                                                 ■	 Support the provision of affordable housing.
quality of life for everyone who lives in, works in    programme of activities that the Council is                                                                      and has since also benefited from Eco-Schools
or visits Herefordshire”.                              undertaking to achieve this. This is available            ■	 Encourage more public participation in              grants. The garden, which covers an area of 56
                                                       online – see the list of links at the end of this            activities and decisions affecting                  m2, grows beetroot, tomatoes, spinach,
Herefordshire Council is basing its approach on                                                                     communities.
                                                       document. Initially the activities are internal and                                                              potatoes, carrots, leeks, herbs, flowers and
UK government policy and the Regional
                                                       apply predominantly to Council officers and               ■	 Reduce poverty and social exclusion,                wheat. Between the ages of 7 and 9 all children
Sustainable Development Framework (RSDF) for
                                                       members, but they will have external effects as              particularly in deprived areas.                     spend some lesson time in the garden every
the West Midlands. See the web sites at the end
                                                       they are established.                                                                                            week for half of the year.
of this document for more information.
                                                       One immediate priority is to facilitate an agreed         Case study: Full House                                 Not only do they plant and dig themselves, they
                                                       vision of the Council’s future performance from a                                                                also learn how to prepare the food – including
Sustainability and the Council                         sustainability perspective. This will be expressed in     Full House is a local charity that offers an
                                                                                                                 excellent example of sustainability in practice. It    grinding the wheat on a stone grinder and
Like other local authorities, Herefordshire            measurable, long-term targets based on                                                                           making it into bread. When it is harvested they
                                                       indicators that reflect the economic,                     is contracted by the Council to address three
Council’s Corporate Plan addresses                                                                               main issues: the disposal of unwanted                  eat it with their lunches or sell it to parents to
sustainability issues, setting out how the council     environmental and social well-being of                                                                           raise extra funds for the school. Each year the
                                                       Herefordshire. These will be set out in the next          household items (which would otherwise end up
will play its part in making the vision for                                                                      as bulky landfill), the need among low-income          whole school enjoys a harvest lunch, comprising
Herefordshire a reality.                               version of this strategy.                                                                                        a hearty soup and bread made from the fruits of
                                                                                                                 households for affordable basic items of
Herefordshire Council has already achieved             Another priority is to build a framework for              furniture and white goods and the provision of         their labours. Not only do the children learn how
much that contributes to sustainability. It has a      streamlining sustainability objectives across the         employment for those struggling to find it. Full       the land provides sustenance, they also learn
Carbon Management Action Plan, committing it           Council’s plans, policies, budgets and strategies. This   House collects these unwanted household                about healthy cooking and eating. This
to a 12.5% reduction in its carbon emissions by        will identify and encourage shared, quantified            goods, charging only for collection costs, and         understanding is enhanced with teaching about
2012 compared with the 2002 baseline. It has a         outcomes – tangible practices, policies or                then assesses them, performs repairs (where            the benefits of local food and agriculture and the
clear environmental policy, which recognises the       decisions – that contribute to a sustainable              necessary and cost effective) and prices them          way in which their school fits into the local and
need to protect the environment and to use             Herefordshire. Work on this is already underway.          for resale.                                            wider environment.

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