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What are we doing?

What are we doing?

Environmental, Green and Sustainable Group (Ongoing) 

The Environmental, Green and Sustainable (EGS) Group is a city-wide low carbon youth forum that is run with and for Sunderland's children and young people. This group aims to empower young people through discussing the climate crisis, low carbon and action being taken in Sunderland. After each group meeting, EGS representatives meet with the city's senior leaders at the 2030 Shadow Board meetings to contribute to low carbon discussions and decisions. Young people of all ages take part, including representatives from a mix of Sunderland schools, youth group settings, Sunderland College, and the University of Sunderland.   

The EGS Group is now in its third academic year of running and has had numerous group meetings as well as sending EGS representatives to the 2030 Shadow Board meetings since October 2021. The EGS chose their own group name, voted on the city-wide hashtag #WearSustainable and have explored numerous topics of interest such local growing projects, sustainable transport, plastic pollution, and greenspaces in Sunderland. Our group members share what projects they have been working on, take part in regular consultations, take part in volunteering sessions, highlight important matters along with others at the 2030 Shadow Board. 

CLIMATE Project with Essen (Completed in June 2022)  

Sunderland City Council has (in partnership with German twin town Essen) secured funding from North Rhine Westphalia and Stadt Essen and financially supported the 'Citizens' Low Carbon Innovation for Mutual Action in Twin CitiEs' (CLIMATE) project. This brought together groups of young people from Sunderland College (students in Travel and Tourism as well as Green Ambassadors) to work with counterparts in Essen's Theodore Heuss Gymnasium.  

Early work was delivered online, including joint virtual sessions of both groups of learners, a webinar and joint project work. The project was completed in June 2022 with a visit of the Sunderland group, travelling sustainably overland, to Germany. Whilst in Essen they spent time working with their German partners, including meeting with the European Green Capital Agency, a reception at the Town Hall, visiting the THG school, exploring local sustainable sites in Essen including an energy exhibition, and joint student-led project work.  

Engagement Events (Ongoing)   

Events are held frequently across the city, some of these in 2023 included; 

Common Purpose - This programme brought together 50, 18-25-year-olds who live, work or study in the city, to help make it a cleaner, greener city for future generations. 

Together with partners including Together For Children, 15 Healthy Active Family Events were held across the City, speaking to communities about how to be more sustainable and reduce their carbon footprint and delivering fun sustainability activities. 

In October the second Sunderland EcoFest was held and was split into 2 parts (businesses and residents). The Business event was held at City Hall and was attended by 14 businesses. 5 seminars were held and included a range of speakers.  

The residents event was held at the Museum & Winter Gardens and had 10 exhibitors. Activities included making an Elmer the Elephant from recycled milk bottles, planting seeds, mat making, windmill making, lantern making and plant a pledge.  

Other events have included Family Pride, the International Triathlon and Freshers Week at Sunderland University. 

At each of these events, team members have offered information and advice on issues such as energy efficiency, active transport, the Betterpoints app and Refill Sunderland as well as offering fun activities such as planting edible seedlings and supporting residents to make climate pledges. 

Tree Planting (In progress) 

Together with partners (including the Woodland Trust, the Forestry Commission, 6 Local Authorities and the North East Community Forest Team), the Council continues to progress delivery of the North East Community Forest. The NECF partnership will plant a minimum 500 hectares by 2025 and will assist with tackling three global challenges: climate change, biodiversity and the physical and mental health impacts of COVID-19. In addition to protecting and enhancing the city's existing canopy cover, the NECF can: reduce the risk of flooding, create new habitat for wildlife, improve air quality, provide positive impacts on human health and wellbeing, boost the economy, provide new jobs, provide timber for sustainable building and energy production, and store thousands of tonnes of carbon. Additionally, the project will engage, work with and be supported by the wider community, which will include, but not be limited to: NGOs, professional bodies and local partnerships, national infrastructure providers, businesses, community groups, the education and environment sector, private and public landowners, local environmental charities, the health sector, communities and individuals.  

During 2022/23 (the second planting season for the NECF partnership), Sunderland planted 2,000 whips; 487 street trees / public realm standard trees; 189 orchard trees; 2,412 hedge plants across; 400m of new hedgerow; 2.48ha of wildflower meadow seeding, and; 14,000 bulbs. Sunderland aims to deliver at least 13ha of new tree planting in 2023/24. This builds on the 8,462 whips, 90 orchard trees (to encourage local growing), 6,777 hedge plants across 1,360 metres of new hedgerow and 7.37ha of wildflower meadow seeding planted in 2021/22. Plans for the 2023/24 planting season are underway. 

The City Council is delivering further tree planting schemes on a local level area, such as the Local Authority Treescapes Fund (LATF), which saw 68 standard trees delivered in 2022/23 following £70,000 being secured by the Council. This builds on success in 2021/22 to deliver 61 standard trees and 783 whips through this funding stream. 

In March 2023 two community tree planting events took place. The first event at Downhill Sports Complex involved 15 volunteers who helped to plant over 300 trees; the second event was held at St Mary's RC primary School where 25 schoolchildren and 10 volunteers carried out a tree planting ceremony, planting 1 heavy standard tree, and 100 hedgerow whips. 

Learn more about how we're increasing the tree canopy cover in Sunderland.

Refill Sunderland (Ongoing)   

As part of Sunderland's work to reduce Consumption and Waste - and save residents and businesses money, the Council launched a Refill scheme for Sunderland on 16th June 2022 for World Refill Day. This will help the city to reduce single use plastic waste by working with Not-for-Profit organisation 'City to Sea' who lead the Refill campaign.  

Refill provides a platform to connect residents and their communities to places they can eat, drink and shop without single-use plastic packaging. The free Refill app has been downloaded by over 350,000 people globally and Sunderland is the latest scheme to join the campaign. 104 Refill stations were already registered within the city at launch, and there are now 125 Refill stations across the city. Refill Sunderland will provide a platform for new stations to register and will help promote them.  

To see where the stations are located download the Refill app.   

If you would like to register as a refill station click here

Better Points (Ongoing) 

BetterPoints is a FREE to use award-winning behaviour change platform targeting modal shift to active and sustainable travel. The app tracks your travel movements via GPS using your smartphone and rewards you with points for using more sustainable modes of transport like walking, cycling and using public transport.  

Points can then be exchanged for rewards such as discounts in local shops, free coffees, vouchers or charity donations.  

The campaign in Sunderland will run from March - October 2022 (and hopefully beyond that subject to additional funding) and will see points awarded, to anyone aged 14 or over, for active or sustainable journeys made around Sunderland, Washington, Hetton & Houghton.  

Better Points currently has 1,549 users who have made over 485,000 sustainable journeys in Sunderland, travelling 746,225 miles and saving almost 95 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Active travel can include walking, cycling, running, or using an e-bike, while using public transport like the bus, metro or train counts as sustainable travel.  

Rewards are in the form of BetterPoints (digital currency), BetterTickets (prize draw entries) or direct vouchers and prizes. BetterPoints can be redeemed for a wide choice of vouchers in our catalogue of high street and local retailers, coffee shops, sports venues and cinemas. BetterTickets prize draws are daily, weekly or monthly, to win BetterPoints or sponsored prizes.  

Local Companies taking part can either offer gift-vouchers, discounts or sponsor prize draws.  

Recent Prize Draws include:  

  • Zeta Electric Bike From Carlos Cycles  

  • Free Coffee`s in Brew & Bake  

  • £20 Sunderland Gift Cards  

  • £20 Nexus Pop Cards   

  • Everyone Active Gym Passes   

  • Group Bike Ride for 12 from SYPB  

  • Neuron E-Scooter Passes  

  • Bonus Points  

Commercial Energy Efficiency Projects  

BEST (ran until May 2022)   

Sunderland was part of the regional Business Energy Saving Team (BEST) which ran until March 2022. BEST was a project funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and delivered by local authorities in North East England. The BEST team provided businesses with a full energy audit, designed to help identify ways to save energy, money, and carbon emissions. If businesses met certain criteria the BEST team could also provide a grant to partially support the upfront costs of energy efficiency measures. As of the end of BEST programme in March 2022, Sunderland City Council led the regional performance table, with 21 approvals, 14 grants claimed, and a total project value of £130,000 invested in energy efficiency improvements saving 327 tonnes of carbon equivalent. Updated information for Sunderland businesses will be provided for the full project period shortly.  

BREEZ - Business Renewables Energy Efficiency Sunderland (Oct 2019 - June 2023)   

The Business Renewables Energy Efficiency Sunderland (BREEZ) project finished in June 2023. As at the end of the project, over 300 businesses and community groups had been contacted and advised, 83 SMEs were fully engaged (including audits, advice and guidance). 74 BREEZ grants totalling £532,449 were allocated and, with 50% match funding attracted from SMEs and Community Groups, the total value of energy efficiency measures installed was £1,249,334. BREEZ 2 is in development to continue supporting businesses and community groups to install energy efficiency measures. 

Domestic Energy Efficiency Projects  

ECO3/Flex (Jan 2021 - April 2022)  

The Council has commenced the ECO4 project in partnership with EON and Utilita to insulate properties and upgrade old and inefficient heating systems. This builds on the success of the earlier ECO3/Flex project (January 2021 - April 2022) which saw the Council assist 357 households, with a total value of £704,987 for gas boiler upgrades and insulation measures.  

LAD2 project (Jan 2022 - Sep 2022)   

Through the LAD 2 project 225 low-income low-efficiency domestic properties have benefited from 455 energy efficiency measures to help cut energy bills and carbon emissions.  Following a 'Fabric First' whole house insulation approach, qualifying properties have also benefited from Low Carbon heat-pumps and / or solar roof panels.  Total cost £1,664,095. Improvements include:   

  • Solar Roof Panels   

  • Room in Roof (Attic) Insulation   

  • Top Up Loft Insulation to 300mm  

  • Cavity Wall Insulation  

  • Solid Wall Insulation   

  • Underfloor Insulation (Ground Floor only)  

  • Air Source Heat Pump (Low Carbon High Efficiency Heating)  

  • Heating Control upgrades   

Warm Homes Fund (July 2022 - July 2024)   

The Council, working in partnership with Groundwork North East and the Citizens Advice Bureau, have secured £1.2m of funding from National Grid Warm Homes Fund to replace old, inefficient electric storage heaters with Air Source Heat Pumps in 135 private sector, low-income homes.    

The Warm Homes Fund project also provides energy saving and income maximisation advice to homeowners and tenants of private landlords:  

  • the installation of affordable heating solutions in fuel poor households which don't use mains gas as their primary source of heat.  

  • activities to support people with health conditions living in fuel poor households, particularly in urban areas with a high Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) ranking and with high concentrations of fuel poverty.  

Social Housing Decarbonisation Project (April 2022 - March 2023)    

In partnership with Gentoo, the project will target decarbonisation upgrading works to over 500 social rented homes located across Sunderland. £2.4 million has been invested into the scheme, with half of the programme being funded through the government bid.  

 The worst properties in terms of Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) bands are to be prioritised and works undertaken must result in achieving a minimum of EPC Band C rating. Measures include loft insulation, a combination of loft and window upgrades and fabric enhancements, such as external wall insulation and flat roof upgrades. The development of the project draws on comprehensive work which has been undertaken by Gentoo to review energy data across its housing stock as part of the ongoing development and delivery of its corporate strategy.   

In July 2022, as part of the Social Housing Decarbonisation fund, work has recently started to improve the energy efficiency of 21 properties in Whinfell, Albany.  

Common Purpose Sunderland 60 (June 2022)   

Non-profit information Common Purpose, who work in over 200 cities globally, delivered the Sunderland 60 Legacy programme in June 2022.  

The Sunderland 60 Legacy project brought together 18-25 year olds from a range of employers and education providers across the city to take part in an international leadership programme. Their focus was learning and developing ideas on how to make Sunderland a cleaner, greener city for generations to come.   

Young people were invited to participate from organisations including Together for Children, Sunderland Care & Support, Gentoo, Sunderland College, the University of Sunderland, Sunderland City Council, many of whom sponsored the programme, alongside businesses Arctic Wolf and Ashmore Consultants.  

Over four days the participants received training and sessions from Common Purpose as well as experts in related fields locally. They then presented their own ideas to senior representatives on how they would recommend reducing carbon footprints and helping the city achieve its low carbon ambitions - these resulted in 6 strong proposals for Sunderland, which are now being considered.  

Two of the young people attended the city's next 2030 Shadow Board to share their experience and the proposed ideas they had developed with city leaders.  

The second Sunderland 60 event took place in April 2023 and saw 55 young people from organisations in Sunderland meet for 3 days. Participants took part in 4 immersion visits before developing their ideas to make Sunderland a cleaner and greener city.  

Covenant of Mayors (Ongoing)  

Having signed the European Covenant of Mayors in 2009 to commit the city to Carbon reduction targets, Sunderland was happy to be selected to participate in the programme's peer learning project. The European-funded programme brings cities together to learn from one another on climate and energy actions and to build long-term relationships.  

Sunderland was one of 11 cities (and one of 5 'expert' cities) from over 100 applications to be selected take part in the project which is coordinated by the EUROCITIES network of 200 members from 38 countries. The peer learning projects share research, experience and ways of working to a more sustainable future.  

In October 2021 Sunderland hosted an online 4-day event with colleagues from Vitoria Gastéiz in Spain and Parma in Italy to share learning and expertise. Topics discussed included transport, energy and green infrastructure. Sunderland led discussions on community and partner engagement, highlighting the city-wide cooperative approach, our joint 'Low Carbon Framework' and our ambitions for the whole city to be carbon neutral by 2040.  

Sunderland colleagues and elected representatives gave a number of presentations over the 4 days as well as taking part in joint sessions. The online 'visit' culminated in our European partners participating alongside young people's 'Environmental, Green, Sustainable (EGS) representatives in October's city-wide 2030 Low Carbon Shadow Board's meeting.  

EV Charging (Installed August 2022)   

The £10m Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) pilot fund is intended to encourage large scale, ambitious and commercially sustainable projects that leverage significant private sector investment to support the rollout of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Sunderland secured £493,568 grant funding towards a £822,612.70 project supporting the delivery of 219 fast charging outlets for residents at Riverside Sunderland and on-street locations. This includes funding for 115 wall-mounted charge-point sockets at Riverside Sunderland Multi-Storey Car Park as well as residential on-street charging / an EV Community Hub supporting 104 outlets at 20 locations across the city. 

On-street Residential Charge Point Scheme Round 1 (OCRS) works were completed in March 2023 (grant worth £69,300 initially secured in January 2021). This saw 10 EV charging points for use by residents where off-street parking was unavailable at Harbour View in Roker, Morgan Street in Southwick, Ocean Road in Grangetown, Aldenham Road in Lakeside Village and Market Street in Hetton. 

The regional Levelling Up Fund Round 2 proposal, focused on EV infrastructure, has been successful. As well as supporting buses to be converted to electric (as referenced in public transport section), Sunderland has received £667,000 to support the delivery of three rapid charging hubs. 

The council continues to actively seek and bid for government grant funding to assist with the uptake of electric vehicles, with a focus on charge-point provision in locations where off-street parking is either limited or unavailable. 

Local Climate Engagement (In progress)   

Following a successful bid in January 2022, the Council is participating in the 'Local Climate Engagement' (LCE) programme, which is a partnership with Involve, the Democratic Society, Shared Future and Climate Outreach. The LCE programme is working with local authorities to deliver high-quality climate change public engagement projects in a way that benefits both the local authorities and their communities. Sunderland was one of 21 local authorities selected across the two LCE programmes from 75 applications and one of only 5 authorities to be offered the opportunity for in-depth project support for which it applied. Sunderland's project is focusing on public engagement around sustainable travel behaviours. The project has provided training to approximately 20 Council and Together for Children colleagues, some virtually and some in person from a range of services areas. Participants have formed 3 focused teams to plan engagement on three separate projects including social prescribing for active travel (which is partly funded by the Healthy Cities Grant), cycleway design at Dame Dorothy Street to support the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) and home to school transport for SEND children and young people. 

COP26 School Grants (Autumn 2021)  

In autumn 2021 Sunderland City Council launched and funded COP26 Sunderland school grants which saw 6 secondary schools and 2 primary schools design and deliver a range of carbon-cutting initiatives to get involved in COP26. Schools across the city were asked to submit applications to drive forward local environmental change, and as part of this grant these projects focused on those most likely to be impacted by climate change, the city's children and young people.  

Grants totalling £2,600 were awarded to teachers, children and young people from Albany Village Primary School, Broadway Junior School, Kepier Academy, Monkwearmouth Academy, Southmoor Academy, Sandhill View Academy, St. Aidan's Catholic Academy and Washington Academy. These schools delivered projects which included planting trees and developing school gardens, creating orchards, harvesting willow, improving recycling, litter picking and reducing single-use plastics as well as setting up school eco teams. 

Food and Nutrition Chartermark (Ongoing)   

The Council is supporting schools to achieve the Bronze Food and Nutrition Charter Mark, which was initially rolled out in 2021 as an element of the Sunderland Healthy Schools Award. Any Sunderland education setting can apply to the Bronze level, which was rolled out in 2021. There is significant focus on environmental sustainability including plant-based and planet-friendly diets, waste minimisation and seasonal eating among other initiatives. There are now 5 educational settings accredited at bronze level across early years, primary and secondary. The silver level is expected to be developed for the 2023/24 academic year, with the gold level to follow in 2024/25.  

Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme Phase 1 (Summer 2022) 

The Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) Phase 1 scheme is delivered by Salix Finance and funds capital energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects. Projects must be within public sector non-domestic buildings, including central government departments and arm's length bodies in England. After a successful £2.2m bid to the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS), Sunderland City Council completed works to decarbonise 8 municipal buildings through PSDS Wave 1 in summer 2022. This included City Hall, Bunny Hill, Evolve, Farmborough Court, Houghton Library, Thorney Close Action and Enterprise Centre, Austin House and Ryhope Customer Service Centre. The project saved an estimated 1,754MWh and 375 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year. 

Sunderland Energy Storage and Efficiency Project (SESEP) (Complete) 

The City Council was allocated £2.2 million for solar PV and battery storage works - through the Sunderland Energy Storage and Efficiency Project (SESEP) which was part-funded through the European Regional development Fund (ERDF) - across a range of Council operational premises. Through SESEP, the Council installed solar and battery storage at its business centres (Evolve, Sunderland Software Centre and Washington Business Centre) as well as at Jack Crawford House and Transit Shed 7 at the Port of Sunderland. 

Energy Efficiency Audits in Council Buildings (Ongoing) 

The Council worked with the Digital Catapult on an Innovation Challenge through its Internet of Things programme, which has been set up to focus on innovation with local authorities.  Sunderland is home to the Digital Catapult North East & Tees Valley centre, as part of the wider national Digital Catapult (the UK authority on advanced digital technology). This initiative was to develop and pilot a digital product or service which can improve energy efficiency within Council buildings, through the use of sensors and real-time data. The challenge was launched in summer 2021 with the proposal to begin with two test sites and to provide a solution which would be scalable.  

Nomad Energy Solutions Ltd were the successful SME and began their pilot focused on Evolve (one of Sunderland City Council's Business Centres) and the Council's Leechmere Centre.  Based on their analysis during the pilot period, they prepared a report which provided short, medium and long-term suggestions for improvements.  The trial has so far saved 111 tonnes of CO2 equivalent, with the potential to achieve a further 76 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per annum from recommended longer-term measures. Following the success of the Innovation Challenge, a scale-up phase of the project has now begun and it is expected that further emissions savings will be achieved as more buildings across the Council's estate are included. 

LED Streetlighting (Completed 2022) 

Over the last 5 years, the Council has replaced over 48,000 streetlights across the city with LED lighting. Since the start of the project in November 2016, this has reduced annual energy consumption from streetlighting by over 20,000MWh, and delivered annual carbon savings of 5,370 tonnes. In addition to the street lighting replacement scheme, the Council has also delivered LED lighting to street lit signs in 2022/23. Further LED lighting upgrades to parks, associated buildings and traffic signals are ongoing and will deliver additional carbon and energy savings. 

UK100 - Net Zero Pledge (Ongoing) 

In 2015, Sunderland City Council signed up to the original UK100 pledge to achieve 100% clean energy by 2050. Due to significant progress made by local authorities in recent years, UK100 published a new Net Zero pledge which raises the ambitions of councils and cities, to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and 2045 respectively. In March 2022, Sunderland City Council reaffirmed its commitments to UK100 by becoming a signatory of this Net Zero pledge. Signatories are known as the 'Net Zero Local Leadership Club' and are working collaboratively to ensure net-zero targets are reached as soon as possible. UK100 brings together ambitious local authorities to share knowledge, collaborate, and petition the central UK government with their collective power (over 100 Councils have already signed up to the revised pledge). UK100 works closely with elected representatives and policy experts to develop solutions to the challenges local leaders face and build public support for the net-zero transition. Through reaffirming commitments to UK100, and increasing our targets accordingly, this reflects increased ambition by the Council and city. 

UK100 - Climate Leadership Academy (Completed January 2023) 

In January 2023 the Council's Deputy Leader (and portfolio holder for Low Carbon) graduated from UK100's Climate Leadership Academy for councillors. The Academy, which took place between September 2022 and January 2023, offered ambitious elected representatives in a leadership position a unique coaching opportunity to develop their political skills, knowledge and confidence, to become leading climate pioneers in local government. Participants in the programme worked on how to overcome the challenges in designing and delivering ambitious, local climate projects, to enable progress towards their council's Net Zero goals. 

IAMP Microgrid (Ongoing) 

Work is also progressing at the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) to deliver a 100% renewable electricity 'Microgrid' that it is anticipated will save 55,000 tonnes of carbon annually, working closely with industry partners. This will enable more cost competitive energy delivery, coupled with renewable energy to be generated on a phased basis, to meet the energy requirements of companies locating at IAMP. The microgrid development represents a significant opportunity for private sector investment, including in renewable energy, to create an environment whereby electric vehicles are being manufactured at scale from green energy. Significant progress has already been made on the Microgrid development, which is expected to be energised and operational from Q.2 2026. 

Minewater Heating (Ongoing) 

Sunderland City Council is exploring the possibility of using renewable energy in the form of minewater in the city centre, as well as district heating opportunities citywide. A feasibility review of former mine workings close to the city centre has been completed, with the heat demands mapped on to these alongside potential abstraction points and predicted temperatures. An outline business case has been prepared for this project and engagement with partners is currently ongoing. The Council has secured Green Heat Network - Transition Scheme Funding and borehole market engagement has also recently been completed. 

Heat Network Zoning Pilot (Ongoing) 

Sunderland is one of 28 pilot cities assisting the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) with their methodology for Heat Network Zoning. To progress citywide district heating opportunities, in autumn 2021, BEIS consulted on proposals for implementation of Heat Network Zones in England. The overall aim is to develop heat networks in zones where they can provide the lowest-cost low carbon heat to the end-consumer in England through a combination of regulation, mandating powers, and market support. Sunderland's involvement in the pilot programme alongside the other pilot cities will inform the development of any national methodology that is introduced in the future. 

Mobility Hub (Ongoing) 

In a bid to reduce emissions and increase sustainable and active travel among the council's workforce, a mobility hub is being established. 10 Nissan Leaf electric vehicles were purchased and have been made available to staff since March 2022. It is expected that in the future the hub will also be of benefit to the 10,000 people who will go on to work from Riverside Sunderland, as well as the 2,500 residents who will live in the area when the site is fully developed. Linking with the solar energy project for St Mary's Multi Storey Car Park (where the vehicles are located) will create an opportunity for the Electric Vehicle miles to be powered by renewable electricity. A 'School Streets' trial scheme was launched in April 2022, with streets temporarily closed to tackle problem parking. A trial street closure was operated at St Bede's Catholic Primary School Washington to address road safety concerns and improve air quality. The Council is currently exploring opportunities to extend and expand the School Streets approach following assessment of pilot. 

St. Bede's Trial (Ongoing) 

A 'School Streets' trial scheme was launched in April 2022, with streets temporarily closed to tackle problem parking. A trial street closure was operated at St Bede's Catholic Primary School Washington to address road safety concerns and improve air quality. The Council is currently exploring opportunities to extend and expand the School Streets approach following assessment of pilot. 

Pallion HWRC (February 2022 - Present) 

In February 2022, the new state-of-the-art Household Waste and Recycling Facility at Pallion opened, which is five times the size of the former Beach Street facility. It is capable of handling more than 1 million visits annually as the Council seeks to encourage high levels of recycling across the city. 

The split-level design makes it easier for householders to use the waste containers, with no steps to climb, and operationally it is possible to change over the waste containers without having to temporarily close the site. The new facility is more efficient, with better services and opportunities to recycle and re-use more waste materials. This is designed to increase the amount of household waste being recycled, to reduce congestion and to be more user friendly for residents. 

The site also includes a purpose-built recycling/re-use shop. Re-usable items such as furniture, working electrical items, clothing, bikes, toys, books, CDs, bric-a-brac and other household items can be donated directly to the re-use shop, where donations can then be sold on at low prices to be enjoyed by somebody else. 

Details are available here

Sunderland Climate Friendly Schools (Ongoing)  

During COP27 Sunderland City Council launched a new initiative called Sunderland Climate Friendly Schools to support Sunderland's schools, children and young people to have the knowledge, confidence and skills required to drive the city's low carbon ambitions forward. This is a two-year programme which is being delivered with Outdoor and Sustainability Education Specialists (OASES) and aims to improve environmental literacy and support schools to take action in tackling climate change, with 10 schools being selected to take part in the project.  

All 10 Climate Friendly schools (including some from each Area of the city and a mix of primary, SEND and secondary schools) have worked closely with OASES staff and the Low Carbon Team to complete a school audit; set up a climate action team; develop actions; complete a whole-school assembly; and undergo training for teaching staff and governors. Schools receive Climate Friendly Schools status when the 10 actions they have identified for the year have been completed. School actions are based around 7 climate friendly themes: energy, transport, building, water, food, consumption, and grounds. Examples of the carbon-cutting actions the schools are taking forward include growing vegetables, introducing children to possible future careers in the green economy, promoting a uniform swap shop, installing a water butt to harvest rainwater, creating an energy saving campaign in school, investigating renewable technologies to install and planting trees.  

In 2022 a Sunderland Climate Friendly Schools network was also formed, which meets termly and is open to all schools. The network cascades information and signposts support and good practice is shared amongst peers.  

Alongside the Sunderland Climate Friendly project, Sunderland City Council has also launched an initiative to develop a 'Wear Sustainable' resources toolkit. The development is being led by OASES with 5 Sunderland Schools (selected to co-develop and trial the Wear Sustainable Low Carbon resources for all key stages to learn about Sunderland's Low Carbon Journey. The resources are curriculum linked and enable young people across Sunderland to understand the city's history and heritage and transformation over time to the modern and increasingly sustainable cityscape.