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Sustainable communities act

The Sustainable Communities Act received Royal Assent on 23 October 2007.

The Act provides a new democratic tool for local people to ask central government to take action they believe will improve the economic, social or environmental well-being of their area. It begins from the principle that local people know best what needs to be done to promote the sustainability of their area, but that sometimes they need central government to act to enable them to do so. It provides a channel for local people to ask central government to take such action.

Exeter City Council has opted in to the Sustainable Communities Act (SCA) which allows the Council to receive requests from communities for some form of action from central government. This could be a change in legislation, a transfer of responsibilities from one public body to another, a new national policy or an amendment to current national policy.

In Exeter the SCA process was first promoted at a public meeting organised by Low Carbon Exeter and Local Works (A Campaign Group that is supporting the SCA) at the Boston Tea Party on the 26 March 2009. The Leader of Exeter City Council, Cllr Adrian Fullam, spoke at the event, supporting the principles of the SCA and the commitment of Exeter City Council to support Exeter residents in putting forward proposals under the act. This was also publicised through local press releases (link) and through the city council web-site. The closing date for proposals was Monday 18th May.

Four proposals were received:

A panel of 12 residents that included members of the city council's Wavelength panel, and representatives from Exeter residents who attended the Low Carbon Exeter event at the end of March met to consider the proposals and decided to support the proposals for:

  • Additional rates for store car parking and
  • Spaces for bikes on rural buses.

These two proposals were formally submitted to the council's Executive Committee on the 29 June. Executive welcomed the process of residents putting forward their ideas and agreed that the two proposals should be recommended to the Local Government Association (LGA) . These two proposals will now be forwarded to the LGA selector panel by the deadline of the 31 July.

The Local Government Association (LGA) will take all of the proposals that come in from around the country and select which ones to go forward to the Secretary of State. Government have given an assurance that they will then take forward some of the proposals to improve the sustainability of communities.

The city council is waiting for further guidance from government on the details of future rounds of the SCA.

For more information contact

Or telephone 01392 265531


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