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People power: support the campaign for the Sustainable Communities Bill


2nd December, 2005

A Bill drafted by environmental groups and community organisations to make the places we live more sustainable and reverse community decline. But it will only become law with massive grass roots support - that means you!.....


In 2001 the new economics foundation (nef) produced a report called Ghost Town Britain. It showed the continuing trend of community decline - thousands of local post offices, newsagents, bank branches, butchers, bakers and grocers closing as well as green space development, village and community centres all desperate for basic funding.

The Local Works campaign was launched with the aim of reversing the trend. It was soon decided that, due to the gravity and wide reaching impacts of the problem - increased traffic and pollution, social exclusion, less democratic participation and community involvement - a change in the law was needed so that local people themselves had the power to conserve or develop their communities. So, a collection of civic and environmental organisations joined nef and drafted the Sustainable Communities Bill.

Since then the campaign has been growing, with more organisations joining the Local Works coalition for the Bill, alongside individual supporters. Public meetings began to be held across the country and supporter numbers increased. It was decided that this grass roots approach was the only way that the Bill would have a chance of being successfully taken up and passed through Parliament. Citizens lobbying their MPs was the answer.

But How Will the Bill Work?

The Sustainable Communities Bill will turn society upside down. It will enable communities and councils to draw up their own ideas to end community decline and promote local sustainability.

Government will then be required to assist in promoting local sustainability in ways suggested by councils and communities (NOT dictated by civil servants in Whitehall). In short, it is central government having a duty to say “tell us what you need in order to make your communities more sustainable” rather than “this is what you must do”.

Your support needed too

The campaign now has 8,000 supporters and each public meeting is addressed by the local MP, making a statement of support for the Bill. But in order to succeed, Local Works needs to double its numbers - they need your help!

Please join the 8,000 individuals and 62 national organisations - including the Ecologist - who support the Local Works campaign. Sign up free on their website:

This article first appeared in the Ecologist December 2005


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