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Major investment to help sports battle climate change

We've committed £45 million to support the sector as part of our first-ever environmental sustainability strategy, Every Move

Today we've launched our first-ever environmental sustainability strategy, Every Move, which includes major new investment to help the sport and physical activity sector respond to climate change.

The package, worth more than £45 million of new National Lottery funding, builds on the already announced £80 million joint investment by us and government in the Swimming Pool Support Fund to make hundreds of swimming pools across the country more environmentally and financially sustainable.

The money will be used to help more people get active in nature, restore flooded sports pitches and help sports clubs become sustainable.

Today’s announcement comes as new research, which forms part of our latest Activity Check-in report, reveals 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.

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

"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."

Our commitments in Every Move

In Every Move, we commit to: 

  • requiring 130 system 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
  • work with partners and stakeholders to ensure end-of-life recycling for all newly funded replacement artificial grass pitches from June 2024, as a condition of funding
  • become a signatory of the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework and act as a global advocate for positive change
  • reduce our own carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieve net zero by 2040; including action plans for our national sports centres and supply chain.

What the sector says

Our sector-wide consultation with stakeholders, partners and operators found that: 

  • 4 in 10 organisations are being affected by weather-related interruptions to play already
  • 8 in 10 people want their organisations to be ambitious on environmental sustainability
  • more than half of organisations (55%) see lack of funding as the greatest barrier to acting on environmental sustainability
  • funding for environmental initiatives is the type of support organisations want most (59%).

Chris added: "It’s not too late to make a difference. Today’s strategy launch is a vital moment for the sports and activity sector and together we can unite to fight against the impact of climate change.

"Sport holds a privileged position in our nation’s psyche – it can reach and influence millions of people to tackle this global issue.

"It’s time we moved from informing and encouraging to enabling and requiring, and ensure our language leaves no room for the status quo.

"We know the sector wants Sport England to provide support, guidance, and leadership on this issue and Every Move sets out how we have listened.

"As a contributor to climate change through major events and travel, it's time for us to become part of the solution."

In Every Move, we commit to working in close collaboration with the sector by providing practical support, including capability and capacity building for our partners, training, tools, resources, and the creation of peer learning networks; particularly for grassroots sport and physical activity organisations.

Read the strategy

Find out more

Use the links below to find our more about Every Move and our sustainability work, or to hear from our strategic lead for environmental sustainability, Denise Ludlam, about how the strategy and action plan were developed and how seemingly small changes can still make a difference.

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