Sustainable Communities Act and barrier busting: how to submit proposals

Published 12 September 2016

1. Sustainable Communities Act

The Sustainable Communities Act 2007 gives all councils, including town and parish councils, the right to submit proposals to central government asking for the removal of legislative and other barriers that prevent them from improving the sustainability of their local area.

Proposals can be concerned with anything that would improve the economic, social or environmental well-being of the area. But you need to remember that:

  • Councils must consult and try to reach agreement with local people before a proposal can be submitted. The consultation must be about the intention to submit a proposal using the Act – you cannot rely on previous consultations on the same subject. There are no rules on how to consult but it should be proportionate to the proposal and the scale of the issue. DCLG will ask you for information about your consultation and the responses you received before your proposal can be considered.

  • The proposal should be something that is within the government’s power to change. For example, the government can only intervene in planning decisions where this is allowed by the legislation.

If you have any questions about the Sustainable Communities Act or are interested in submitting a proposal, please contact

Do not send us the details of your proposal at this stage. We will send you a form that should be used to submit the proposal.

If you submit a proposal under the Sustainable Communities Act and are unhappy with the government’s response, you will have the option of referring your proposal for consideration by an independent selector. The response to your proposal will give you more information on this if it applies.

2. Barrier busting

The Sustainable Communities Act can only be used by councils but any individual or group can use barrier busting.

If you have an innovative idea on how your local services can be delivered better but you need help to overcome barriers and get things done write to us, also at