Sport England launches £45m sustainability strategy

Sport England has launched a £45m environmental sustainability strategy, aimed at helping more people get active, restore flooded pitches and help clubs become sustainable.

Called Every Move, it marks the first sustainability strategy by the charity, which invests more than £300m of public money every year.

Sport England provides between £10m and £25m to a number of major sporting bodies over a five-year period – including British Cycling and England Netball – as well as smaller sums to hundreds of other groups to fund grassroots clubs and get more people active.

The sustainability strategy is worth more than £45 million of new National Lottery funding.

It comes in the wake of research from Sport England revealing that three in five adults and children (60%) say extreme weather has had a negative impact on their ability to be active, with one in four of the children negatively affected, citing the cancellation of PE and games lessons.

Sport England chair Chris Boardman said: “There is no doubt that our changing climate is already impacting our opportunities, motivation and ability to be active.

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“Extreme weather is increasingly making it difficult for us to live healthy, active lives by creating a ‘doom loop’ where people become less motivated and more fearful of injury, with sporting opportunities increasingly cancelled and disrupted.

“Without change now, the government’s target to get 3.5 million more people active by 2030 is very much in jeopardy – and our children will be the ones to suffer most.

“The FA has estimated that 120,000 football games will be lost each year. A third of community pitches are already unplayable for two months of the year due to flooding – and it’s only going to get worse.

“If places to play are unavailable, people will go and do something other than sport and physical activity, leading to small clubs going under and vital community organisations disbanding.”

As part of its Every Move strategy, Sport England is committing to requiring 130 of its partners, including the national governing bodies of all major recognised sports in England, to have robust sustainability action plans in place by March 2027 as a condition of their funding.

It is also committing to work with partners and stakeholders to ensure end-of-life recycling for all newly-funded replacement artificial grass pitches from June 2024, and to reduce its own carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieve net zero by 2040.

Earlier this year, it was revealed Wembley Stadium could now boast the world’s first fully recyclable football pitch.

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