Circular Economy Routemap

Date of Meeting:


Report of:

Nick Hibberd, Executive Director, Economy, Environment & Culture

Contact Officer:


Sophie Moss

Mita Patel


01273 291104



Ward(s) affected:








1.1         The Brighton & Hove Economic Strategy 2018-2023 committed to develop a Circular Economy Routemap for the city. The ambition for the routemap is to facilitate a transition towards eliminating waste generated across the city, supporting a resilient economy through sustainable growth and innovation and supporting the cities pathway towards carbon neutrality by 2030.


1.2         Delivering on the goals of the Economic Strategy, the routemap presents an opportunity for the city to identify wasteful practices and replace them with circular systems that keep products, components and materials at their highest utility and value at all times. The routemap shows how, by working collaboratively, across sectors, to maximise skills and expertise, the city can prepare for the big challenges of our time, whilst protecting and enhancing the health and wellbeing of our residents and the environment.


1.3         This report outlines the progress, to date, of development of the Circular Economy Routemap; the key areas of focus and asks Committee to agree the recommendations for moving forward.


2.         RECOMMENDATIONS:    


That the Committee:


2.1         Agrees the Mission and Vision in the Circular Economy Routemap.


2.2         Agrees that a Circular Economy Programme is developed.


2.3         Agrees that a circular economy online platform is developed to engage external stakeholders to support the development of a circular economy.


2.4         Agrees that a Members Working Group is set up to provide cross-party support and maintain close member involvement in and oversight of progress and delivery of the Circular Economy Programme, the development of a Circular Economy Action Plan, and approves the Terms of Reference at Appendix 2.




            Circular Economy Routemap – Progress to date


3.1         In December 2018 the launch of the Brighton & Hove Economic Strategy included Priority Action 6 (PA6) to promote the development of a circular and sustainable economy to minimise waste and pollution by reducing, reusing and recycling; and the supporting action SCI  to create a Circular Economy Framework, incorporating UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to 2035 for priority sectors for the Brighton & Hove City Region.


3.2         A Circular Economy workshop delivered by officers and environmental consultants SOENECS, was delivered in March 2019 with guest speakers from the organisation leading on London’s Circular Economy Routemap, London Waste & Recycling Board (LWARB), invited to share their approach and learning. The session introduced circular economy to key council officers and senior managers to explain the benefits of a circular economy approach.


3.3         A steering group was set up in April 2019 to oversee the approach and delivery of the routemap. The focus was on the Built Environment and Construction sector, and Visitor Economy sector, and working groups were set up accordingly. 


3.4         In June 2019 BHCC and University of Brighton jointly held a conference for the construction sector. The event was attended by officers, businesses and experts from the city’s construction sector. A range of expert speakers on circular approaches in the built environment spoke at the event, providing an early opportunity to educate and engage with the sector on the challenges and opportunities to adopting a circular approach to construction.


3.5         In July 2019 a similar event was held for the visitor economy, looking at attractions; restaurants and cafes; accommodation; transport and events and the issues facing these areas such as single use plastics; local supply chains; the sharing economy; circular products; flexible retail spaces; etc.


3.6         Between October 2019 and January 2020 a series of ‘accelerator workshops’, which were focused on the built environment and construction and delivered by SOENECS and University of Brighton, introduced officers to circular economy principles. This intensive series of workshops gave officers the opportunity to consider how circular economy principles can be embedded into council procurement, service delivery, operations and projects, as well as improving future policy and practices.


3.7         Following the first Covid-19 lockdown, a further series of officer ‘re-engagement sessions’ were undertaken in September 2020 to revisit actions produced at the accelerator workshops. This was an opportunity to further develop policy actions, learn about officer experiences since the initial workshops, and agree a set of actions, case study projects and policy levers to progress and embed circular economy principles in key areas of council work.


3.8         Representatives of the city’s Visitor Economy sector were engaged in July 2019. The characteristics of this sector are very different from the built environment and focused on the visitor experience: travel, accommodation, food and activities. The remit proved to be too wide to start with and it was a challenge to engage with so many businesses who at the time were being affected by the economic climate and then further compounded by the coronavirus pandemic.


3.9         The working group therefore agreed to focus specifically on the food sector and circular food systems, which plays a significant role in the broader sector and where there is already much work going on in the city. Key representatives of the city food sector have been brought in for discussions on how circular food initiative’s and systems can be developed and will form the next key area of focus for the Circular Economy Programme.


3.10      To support governance and progress of the circular economy work, a Circular Economy Oversight Board, was established in early 2020. This Board will feed into the Carbon Neutral 2030 Programme Board and is responsible for monitoring and supporting the delivery of Supporting Action SC1 of the Economic Strategy for Brighton & Hove 2018: to ‘Create a Circular Economy Framework, incorporating SDGs, to 2035 for priority sectors for the Brighton & Hove City Region.’ [The Circular Economy Framework is now named Circular Economy Routemap for Brighton & Hove]. The Board informs and supports the development of the Circular Economy Routemap and its subsequent updates encompassing additional key sectors in Brighton & Hove’s local economy.


3.11      A Carbon Neutral 2030 Members Working Group in October 2020 provided an opportunity to learn about the benefits of the circular economy, provide an update on progress of the Circular Economy Routemap work to date, and give members the opportunity to engage directly in the work.


3.12      Timeline:




Circular Economy Routemap Mission, Vision and Goals

3.13      The routemap has been written from the unique facilitation position that Brighton & Hove City Council plays in the city. The council must change its own practice and introduce policies that influences change across the whole city. Recognising that, the Council’s clear ambition is outlined in the Mission, Vision and Goals.



We want to empower the city to end linear wasteful practices, do more with less and achieve carbon neutrality through facilitating a change to a circular mindset.



Our vision is for our city to become a global frontrunner where circular economy practices and principles are embraced by all, as a route to fighting climate change.


3.14      These ambitions will be supported by a series of goals and benchmarks that have influenced the creation of a set of actions for leadership, policy making, procurement, planning, property, and day to day work. We are committed to continually reviewing and improving these actions to support the transition towards circular practices across the city. An action plan is currently being developed and will be taken to the Members Working Group.



3.15      We have used five models, adopted by cities around the world, to prioritise actions and opportunities over the coming 15 years:


·         Changing the approach to design to embed circularity and change behaviour

·         Extending product life through systems across the city

·         Exploring new business models

·         Treating waste as a resource

·         The use of resources will prioritise social, environmental and economic value


3.16      The routemap notes the council can be the facilitator of change and enable us to move to becoming a circular city and proposes five roles in which it can support a transition to a circular economy:


·                     Planning the future Circular city as a Local Planning Authority

·                     Using its land and buildings to demonstrate Circular solutions

·                     As a procurer of services

·                     Leading the city towards a Circular future as a convenor, promoting knowledge sharing

·                     And as a Stakeholder of the environment


Circular Economy Programme & Platform

3.17      The routemap identified two outcomes for the Council to develop, to support the city’s transition to a circular economy:


3.18      Firstly, to progress a Circular Economy Programme: The aim of the Programme is to work collaboratively with businesses, educational institutions, stakeholders, regional bodies and policy developers to become more circular in its thinking and practices. Building upon existing activities and exploring new opportunities through skills; corporate and community engagement; policy development; funding opportunities and business support will strengthen the city’s circular and sustainable economy. The programme will work with businesses to develop new support programmes and incentives which encourage and accelerate take-up of new behaviours and ways of doing business; and work with businesses /education and skills providers to understand the skills gaps and support reskilling will support this growth. To understand the baseline position, we would need to map materials flow of resources through the city, mapping out our materials footprint will enable us to understand and direct activity to priority areas.


3.19      Secondly, the council should explore options for either working with existing platforms or designing an online circular economy platform which will provide detail for businesses through links to regional bodies that can provide business support and case studies.


3.20      Success will be judged in terms of the strength of the city’s identity as having a ‘circular’ and ‘sustainable’ economy with businesses and residents alike taking responsibility and working together to embed sustainability within their activities.




4.1         An alternative option would be for the council not to adopt a circular economy routemap and not to progress with embedding circular principles into council and city activities. This option is not supported as it will significantly compromise sector wider engagement to deliver actions that support the ambitions of Carbon Neutral 2030 programme.




5.1         See the context and background paragraph for engagement and consultation information


6.         CONCLUSION


6.1         To achieve the Councils target of zero emissions by 2030 the city’s economy has a significant role to play. A transition to a circular economy is part of this. To support this transition the Council can make changes to its policies and practices to change the way it does business and procures services. The circular economy programme will support the council in exploring circular economy business models that can help reduce costs, deliver improved services to residents and enhance and protect our environment.  The programme will enable the growth of more circular businesses, support innovation, stimulate new jobs and industry, identify skills gaps and reskill through training, Collaboration between the public sector, private sector and community will not only support to the city’s economy but the societal and environmental opportunities of circular economy will benefit all.






Financial Implications:


7.1         There are no direct financial implications arising from the recommendations of this report. The costs of the workshops and the development of the programme and online platform have, and will be met from existing resources within the service.


            Finance Officer Consulted:     James Hengeveld                        Date: 18/11/20


Legal Implications:


7.2         The Council’s Constitution allows committees to establish member working groups. Permanent member groups (as opposed to ‘task and finish’ groups, set up on a time-limited basis) may only be established by the Policy and Resources Committee. The terms of reference of all permanent groups shall be approved by Policy & Resources and included in the Constitution.


            Lawyer Consulted:                   Alice Rowland                               Date: 11/11/2020


            Equalities Implications:


7.3         The transition to a circular economy will have an impact on equalities. It will provide an opportunity for upskilling and reskilling as new businesses emerge within the city.


            Sustainability Implications:


7.4         The Circular Economy Routemap will support embedding sustainability across the council and wider city and will help to support the ambitions of the Carbon Neutral 2030 programme.


Brexit Implications:


7.5         None at this moment









1.         Circular Economy Routemap [final version will be designed into a more accessible visual format that will be able to be the basis for the online platform]



2.         Circular Economy Members Working Group Terms of Reference