The Sustainability Team is responsible for developing the sustainable development approach for Sunderland, and implementing projects to support this.

The work programme of the Sustainability Team is reviewed each year, and set to reflect the areas needing most attention and support. For April 2006 – March 2007, the Sustainability Team is working in the following five areas:

  • Helping the Sunderland Partnership and Sunderland Strategy to become more sustainable
  • Developing a plan to tackle climate change in Sunderland
  • Monitoring and reducing the impact of the council's own activities on the environment, through the  Carbon Management programme
  • Educating the community, schools, the public and staff on how to be more sustainable
  • Supporting the creation of sustainable communities, through planning policy

Current initiatives

Climate Change in Sunderland  

Becoming a Fairtrade City

What's your Eco-footprint?

Past initiatives

Action for Community Environment (ACE21).  ACE21 grants of £250 were awarded to community groups and local schools who demonstrated that their environmental projects were sustainable and of benefit to the wider community.

The Hive Community Allotment was one successful applicant!

ace21no49 Composting Area, The Hive.
A composting area within the Hive's community allotment was established to encourage the local community to learn about healthy living and the environment. The project provided a sustainable supply of compost for gardening activities, which will benefited the soil and the quality of the crops.

Schools and Charities in Sunderland (SACS). SACS puts local schools in contact with charities and environmental groups by asking pupils to donate unwanted toys, clothes and books for resale in local charity shops, instead of throwing them away to create more and more landfilled waste. Pupils learn about the local and international importance of recycling and the work of charities in the UK and abroad.

SACS ran for 7 years, involving a total of 36,000 pupils over that period, including these here at Mill Hill Primary. In all, SACS prevented 48 tonnes of waste from going into landfill sites - and raised an estimated £75,000 for local charities from the resale of donated goods.

Schools are now being encouraged to maintain their relationships with the charities and environmental groups, to continue annual collections under their own steam.

Participatory Appraisals. For major regeneration schemes, the Sustainability Team was responsible for organising consultation events to identify local expectations and priorities from residents affected by the schemes. These consultations used Participatory Appraisal (PA) techniques, to maximise the involvement of often hard-to-reach groups, by conducting street surveys, holding surgeries in local pubs, clubs and schools and more. 

The lists of priorities raised by local residents helped define both positive and negative impacts of schemes on resident's quality of life, to be factored into the development proposals. In addition, residents were able to better understand what scheme would deliver and learn more about local environmental and sustainability issues in the process.

Consultations carried out include the following:

  • Riverside Regeneration
  • Hetton Sustainable Transport Project
  • Lambton Cokeworks

Consultations on major regeneration schemes are now carried out as a matter of course, lead by the Council's Planning Implementation and Housing Renewal sections.

Achievements and Awards

The Sustainability team has won several Awards including:

  • Schools and Charities in Sunderland project - Green Apple Award 2002
  • ACE21 programme - Green Apple Award 2002
  • National Champion for Partnership Programmes - Green Apple Award 2003
  • National winners of the LGC and HSJ Sustainable Communities Awards for "Tackling Climate Change" 2009

The team also attended the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, 2002, giving a presentation on Sunderland's approach to sustainability, including "Future City - Futures Lives" Sustainable Development Strategy and the SACS project.

Meet the Team

Jim Gillon, Sustainability Co-ordinator.  Jim has been leading the team since December 2005, having made the move from Middlesbrough Council, where he was the Climate Change Officer for three years. Jim started out as an environmental science researcher, with a keen interest in plants and climate change, but also spent 3 years as Environmental Science editor for the international journal Nature, before moving into local authorities.  

Kathryn Warrington, Sustainability Officer. Kathryn Warrington, Sustainability Assistant. Kathryn joined the Sustainability Team in August 2005. Prior to this she worked as a Community Project Officer for over 18 months at Groundwork Solent where she led on a number of community environmental projects. Before starting her career at Groundwork, Kathryn volunteered as a Caseworker for the Environmental Law Foundation.