Sustainable Communities Act 2007
|Long title||An Act to make provision about promoting the sustainability of local communities; and for connected purposes.|
|Chapter||2007 c 23|
|Introduced by||Nick Hurd|
|Territorial extent||England and Wales|
|Royal Assent||23 October 2007|
|Commencement||23 October 2007|
|History of passage through Parliament|
|Text of statute as originally enacted|
|Revised text of statute as amended|
The Sustainable Communities Act represents the campaign success by Local Works, a UK coalition of over 100 national organisations, to introduce legislation that will help reverse the trend of community decline, also called 'Ghost Town Britain'. Ghost Town Britain refers to the ongoing loss of local facilities and services including, amongst others: shops, markets, Post Offices, pubs, bank branches and health centres, etc. The term 'Ghost Town Britain' was initially coined by the British think-tank the New Economics Foundation.
The Act was amended by the Sustainable Communities Act 2007 (Amendment) Act 2010.
How the Act works
The Sustainable Communities Act 2007 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Brought to Parliament as a Private Member's Bill, it received Royal Assent on 23 October 2007. The Sustainable Communities Act represents the campaign success by Local Works, a UK coalition of over 100 national organisations, to introduce legislation that will help reverse the trend of community decline, also called 'Ghost Town Britain'.
Ghost Town Britain refers to the ongoing loss of local facilities and services including, amongst others: shops, markets, Post Offices, pubs, bank branches and health centres, etc. The term 'Ghost Town Britain' was initially coined by the British think-tank the New Economics Foundation. The Sustainable Communities Act 2007 was amended in 2010 when the Sustainable Communities Act 2007 (Amendment) Act passed through Parliament and became law on 6 April 2010.
The Act sets up a process, by which councils can drive government action. Councils are given the power to make proposals to the Secretary of State, as to how government can ‘assist councils in promoting the sustainability of local communities’. The SoS is then under a duty to ‘reach agreement’ with councils, via their representative body, the Local Government Association (the LGA - called ‘the selector‘ in the Act) on which proposals will be given priority. The Act seeks to open up the work of local communities to greater transparency by including ‘local people’ in the proposal process. The Act specifies that when making their proposals to the SoS, councils must involve ‘local people’ by setting up, or recognising if they already exist, ‘panels of representatives of local people’ (or citizens’ panels). Councils then must ‘reach agreement’ (not just consult) with those panels regarding ideas for proposals to put to the SoS for government action. Under the Act, local sustainability has four measurements: 1. Thriving local regeneration 2. Environmental protection 3. Social inclusion 4. Active democratic participation
Proposals and the ‘first round’ under the Act
The local sustainability strategies will state ways in which community decline is to be reversed and local sustainability is to be created. This could include measures to promote local shops and services, local jobs and local businesses; measures to reduce social exclusion and increase active citizenship; as well as measures to improve the local environment.
On 14 October 2008 The Secretary of State (Hazel Blears) invited councils (district, borough, city, unitary and county) to make proposals to central government, via the LGA, by 31 July 2009 on how central government can help promote local sustainability. One hundred Local Authorities ‘opted in’ to the first round of the Act (out of the 468 in total). From this opt in, 300 proposals reached the LGA, and of these 199 were put forward to the then Labour government for consideration. In December 2010, a year after the proposals had been submitted by the selector, the new coalition government Secretary of State responded. Around half of the proposals were "implemented" or "taken forward".
- Sustainable Communities Plan
- List of local authorities have opted into the Sustainable Communities Act 2007
- Ghost Town Britain: The 2002 report by the New Economics Foundation
- Localism Act 2011
- The citation of this Act by this short title is authorised by section 10(1) of this Act.
- The Sustainable Communities Act 2007, section 10(2)
- The Interpretation Act 1978, section 4(b)
- Lucas, Caroline. "The Sustainable Communities Act is a victory worth celebrating". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
- George, Andrew. "Parliamentary Hall Debates Sustainable Communities". June 2012. Hansard. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
- "Local Authority Information". Demgames. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
- "Memorandum to the Communities and Local Government Commons Departmental Select Committee Post-Legislative Scrutiny THE SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES ACT 2007". (page 10). The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
- "Decisions on proposals submitted following the 2008 invitation". (page 69). The Secretary of State. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
- Official text of the Sustainable Communities Act 2007 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from the UK Statute Law Database