Bruton Town Council forwarded a request from South Somerset District Council for issues and opportunities for SSDC's new Environment Strategy.

We sent the following response on 9 July 2019:

Ewan Jones, Mayor of Bruton forwarded me your request for issues and opportunities for South Somerset District Council's (SSDC) new Environment Strategy.
Bruton Town Council declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency on 26 March 2019 and committed to a target for the town to be carbon neutral by 2030. They committed to work with the town's residents, businesses and other organisations to achieve the target and to set up a working group.
One Planet Bruton ( is a local community response to the declaration of a climate emergency. We are working with Bioregional's One Planet Living framework which consists of ten principles and has been used by organisations large and small, developers, London 2012, cities and local authorities in the UK and around the world. Bioregional ( came up with the concept of One Planet Living ( i.e. leading happy lives within a fair share of the earth’s resources) in response to the fact that if everyone in the world lived as we do in the UK, we’d need 3 planets to support us!
The ten principles are:
  • Health and happiness - Encouraging active, social, meaningful lives to promote good health and wellbeing
  • Equity and local economy - Creating safe, equitable places to live and work which support local prosperity and international fair trade
  • Culture and community - Nurturing local identity and heritage, empowering communities and promoting a culture of sustainable living
  • Land and nature - Protecting and restoring land for the benefit of people and wildlife
  • Sustainable water - Using water efficiently, protecting local water resources and reducing flooding and drought
  • Local and sustainable food - Promoting sustainable humane farming and healthy diets high in local, seasonal organic food and vegetable protein
  • Travel and transport - Reducing the need to travel, encouraging walking, cycling and low carbon transport
  • Materials and products - Using materials from sustainable sources and promoting products which help people reduce consumption
  • Zero waste - Reducing consumption, reusing and recycling to achieve zero waste and zero pollution
  • Zero carbon energy - Making buildings and manufacturing energy efficient and supplying all energy with renewables
We have set up One Planet Bruton CIC. It is a Community Interest Company limited by guarantee. Its objects are to carry on activities which benefit the community and, in particular, to work with Bruton's residents, businesses and other organisations to enable current and future residents to live happy, healthy lives within the limits of the planet, using Bioregional's One Planet Living framework. Our specific objects are to support, develop, initiate and manage community projects and interactions in line with the ten One Planet Living principles. We are still working through the governance of working with the Town Council and the Town Council Working Group has met once so far [as at 9 July 2019]. One Planet Bruton has monthly public meetings.
I would suggest that South Somerset District Council follow other local authorities lead, such as Brighton & Hove District Council and the London Borough of Sutton, in adopting One Planet Living and using the framework to structure its approach to the environment and sustainability and resilience. Oxfordshire Council is also using it as part of a global initiative linking with other cities (see and for more examples).
Turning to your specific questions and themes, we have some specific points...
Waste, recycling and resource management
  • This should be about reducing consumption, reusing and recycling to achieve zero waste and zero pollution, and using materials from sustainable sources and promoting products which help people reduce consumption.
  • The goals for waste, recycling and resource management should be:
    • Reduce wasteful consumption
    • Maximise upcycling, reuse and recycling
    • Zero waste to landfill by 2030
    • Aim for zero pollutants to enter air, water or soil
    • Promote the waste hierarchy:
    • Reduce consumption (Refuse)
    • Prevent waste
    • Reuse materials and products
    • Recycle and compost
    • Recover energy from waste
    • Dispose to landfill (aim to get this to zero)
    • ... and encourage closed loop consumption promoting products with recycled content and products chosen for positive social and environmental benefit or for reducing negative impact. Support a circular economy prioritising upcycling, reuse and recycling (cradle to cradle)
  • Business waste is neglected and operates inefficiently with businesses having to make their own arrangements with the result that there are multiple vehicle movements within a small town like Bruton which could be simplified via a coordinated collection round for business waste and recycling of key materials. Bruton has many small streets and there are examples of businesses in Bruton being told that their recycling will no longer be collected, we think, because the waste provider doesn't have small enough vehicles to reach where they need to collect from whereas Somerset Waste Partnership operates with smaller vehicles which can.
  • Terracyle will recycle a wide range of products not collected in kerbside recycling: from crisp packets, pet and babyfood pouches to toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes. This is done in an ad hoc way with collections points where individuals are willing to have one. Far more could be recycled if SSDC were to support central collection points in each parish or town, perhaps within town council offices, libraries or schools. This would need to be within a building that is regularly staffed to avoid waste being mixed incorrectly and 'fly-tipping'. A similar scheme could be set up for plastic plant pots.
  • A quarterly collection on a specific date of larger waste, e.g. furniture, linked to a charity that can sell it on could mean that more of this sort of waste is re-used rather than dumped. I lived in Japan in the early 1990s and this was done there. Each neighbourhood had a collection point and waste was put out the night before. Anyone could take what was there before it was collected and many people furnished their homes this way.
  • Support easy and accessible sharing of resources to reduce consumption of materials.
Natural environment
  • This should be about protecting and restoring land for the benefit of people and wildlife.
  • The goals for the Natural environment should include:
    • Making a positive contribution to local biodiversity and wildlife corridors, in particular, requiring all development to achieve a minimum 25% net gain for biodiversity using the Defra or other locally approved metric.
    • Enhancing 'ecosystem services' such as clean water and air.
    • Maximising carbon sequestration in soils and biomass.
    • Maximising synergies between agriculture, forestry, biodiversity and carbon storage.
    • Engaging people in recognising the value of nature, including its value to human mental and physical health.
  • Actions should include
    • Protection and enhancement of existing habitats and sites important for nature.
    • Using uptodate data from Somerset Environmental Records Centre and supporting ongoing collection of data.
    • Creating a Nature Recovery Network for South Somerset with maps which identify how places for nature area connected at a strategic level and locally. This would identify where habitats can be connected and targets for habitat creation and green infrastructure.
    • Creating a Natural Capital inventory for South Somerset.
    • Ensuring that the land-take for the creation of new wildlife habitat is at least as much as the land-take for new development.
    • Requiring nature to be built into all developments, all new developments to include exemplary features for biodiversity and achieve 25% net gain in biodiversity. (
    • Identifying areas for reforestation and community tree planting. Protection of existing trees.
    • Identifying areas for natural flood management.
Built environment
  • The built environment is responsible for around 40% of carbon emissions.
  • The goals for the Built environment should include:
    • Requiring all new development to be exemplary in terms of construction materials and waste, water consumption, zero carbon, future-proofed and designed to cope with increased summer temperatures without overheating.
    • Upgrading the existing housing stock.
    • New developments designed to foster a sense of community and have good connections to existing communities
  • See the Bicester Eco Town: NW Bicester, for examples of exemplary development and the targets that were set. This is the only one of the Eco Towns to be built to the original standards.
  • SSDC should use the Local Plan and the planning process to push the boundaries as far as you are legally allowed. Local authorities can require standards higher than building regulations (
Energy (efficiency and renewable)
  • The goal should be that all buildings and processes are energy-efficient compared to a stated local or national benchmark and energy demands should be met by renewables by 2030.
  • There should be a district-wide programme to retrofit homes and buildings so that they use less energy, reducing fuel costs and adverse impacts on health from poorly heated or ventilated buildings.
  • Energy demand (power / heat: electricity / gas) should be determined by parish / town, to provide data to support carbon footprint calculations.
  • The extent of installed renewable energy (PV, solar thermal, ground and air source heat pumps, wind, etc...) should be mapped by parish.
  • Areas should be identified where local and community renewable energy could be installed. This includes flat roofs (above a certain area, say), and opportunities for micro-hydro.
  • There could be an energy roadshow around the district providing information to residents and business owners about how to save energy through LED lighting, energy efficient appliances, insulating buildings and dealing with draughts, as well options for installing renewable energy and switching to renewable energy tariffs.
Travel and transport
  • This should be about reducing the need to travel, encouraging walking, cycling and low carbon transport.
  • The goals for travel and transport should be:
    • Reduce car dependence and the need for daily travel
    • Make it easy and attractive for people to walk and cycle
    • Promote car-sharing ( and public tranpsort
    • Promote low / zero carbon vehicles including electric cars, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure
    • Raise awareness of the impacts of, and promote alternatives to, air travel (
  • It's important to understand the journeys that people need and want to make and see whether there are opportunities to reduce these, for example, people in Bruton often drive to Castle Cary station to print out advance train tickets which are cheaper than buying tickets on the train, because Bruton station doesn't have a ticket machine. A ticket machine at Bruton station that could print out pre-paid tickets would eliminate these journeys.
  • A bus loop serving Cuckoo Hill, Hauser and Wirth, the Newt and Bruton High Street could also eliminate some short car journeys.
  • A daily or several times weekly bus service to a local supermarket would help some residents who are unable to easily get to the High Street.
  • Map where electric vehicle charging points are required and facilitate installations, including putting in EV points into all SSDC carparks.
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