The Swedish municipalities play an essential role in the work of achieving the environmental objectives. By translating national and regional objectives into local aims and actions, they can make the objectives effective tools in local politics.
The environmental objectives have had a substantial impact at municipal level and helped to make environmental issues a higher priority on the political agenda. With their responsibility for local development and a good environment to live in, the municipalities have ample scope for steering development through spatial planning of land, water and the built environment.
Municipal environmental efforts are extensive. Almost all the 290 municipalities, 84%, are working to achieve environmental objectives.
Local environmental cooperation
Most municipalities cooperate with the county administrative boards in their efforts to achieve the environmental objectives. Cooperation with organisations, companies and the local business sector, and with regional cooperative bodies, also takes place.
Various forms of work
The forms of work vary, but introduction of environmental management systems and coordination with local Agenda 21 efforts are common. Other examples of environmental efforts are work on various forms of environmental plans, overview planning, environmental accounts and green headline indicators.
The municipalities can adjust their work on the environmental objectives to integrate it into their own ongoing, in-house processes that have a major bearing on the environment. The environmental objectives can, for example, be included in the municipalities’ infrastructure planning and development of traffic systems; development and preservation of green areas; energy and water supplies; property and housing development; and protection and care of Sweden's cultural heritage. Other useful tools are environmental supervision under the Swedish Environmental Code (for chemical products and single-household sewage systems, for example) and environmental requirements in procurement. Schools and pre-schools are important in getting children and adolescents interested in the environment. The municipalities are also major employers, and training of their own employees may exert a major impact.
More information about the municipalities’ environmental work may be found on the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (Sveriges Kommuner och Landsting) website.