Focus on economic growth, environmental protection and carbon net zero in new strategy

Mid Sussex District Council (MSDC) has approved a new Sustainable Economy Strategy and Action Plan 2022-2025 to support sustainable economic growth in Mid Sussex.

Full Council met on Thursday 27 April to formally adopt the new strategy, which sets out how sustainable development in Mid Sussex can provide economic prosperity without compromising protection for the environment. The Council will establish a carbon net zero plan to help tackle climate change locally. The Sustainable Economy Strategy focusses on the three key themes of People, Place and Partnerships. Mid Sussex residents are well qualified the area has high levels of employment. The strategy aims to build on this by delivering high value employment development within the District, such as the proposed Science and Technology Park to the north of Burgess Hill. Promoting access to training will give local people the opportunity to develop the skills they need to secure quality jobs and support for entrepreneurs will help new businesses to start up across the District. In addition, the Council will co-ordinate and provide advice to help local businesses improve the sustainability of their organisations.

MSDC will facilitate the delivery of sustainable infrastructure, including working with West Sussex County Council to significantly increase the number of Electric Vehicle Charging Points available across the District and promote sustainable travel options, including green travel plans. Digital infrastructure will be significantly improved through the rollout of full fibre and wireless technology to support residents, public services, charitable organisations, and economic activity within Mid Sussex. New development and land management should demonstrate an increase in biodiversity and the Council will continue to set aside areas of public open space for rewilding.

The Council will adopt a Social Value and Sustainability Charter to ensure that there is commitment to support economic, environmental and social improvements from its suppliers and contractors, and will encourage procurement of goods and services from local organisations.

Mid Sussex has a well-established culture of partnership working and the new Sustainable Economy Strategy recognises and strengthens this. By working with and through partner organisations to deliver economic growth, combat climate, maximise biodiversity, and promote and enable improvements to health and wellbeing for residents, the Council has set out a strong roadmap for the future.

Councillor Jonathan Ash-Edwards, Leader of Mid Sussex District Council said: “The UK Government has committed to becoming carbon net-zero by 2050 and this strategy commits Mid Sussex to net zero as well. Climate change is a big challenge for all of us and every Council around the country has an important role to play. Our new Sustainable Economy Strategy will help to tackle this challenge by ensuring economic growth is sustainable and attracting investment that recognises the uniqueness of our environment whilst improving the prospects of our residents.

“In recent years in Mid Sussex, our economy has grown at the same time as carbon emissions have fallen and so we know these can continue to go hand in hand. “Our vision for Mid Sussex is to support businesses in reducing their carbon emissions, encourage business start-ups, promote sustainable business practices, develop digital infrastructure, enhance biodiversity and support the development of vibrant town and village centres that meet local residents’ needs and which can accessed easily on foot or by bike.

“Many of the objectives in our strategy cannot be delivered by the Council alone, and we will need to work in partnership with our residents, stakeholders and businesses to achieve our aims. By working together to implement this important strategy, we can deliver sustainable economic growth for the benefit of everyone who lives and works in Mid Sussex.”