Sheffield’s ‘Climate Emergency’ Resolution… Initial steps that can be taken now.

Following on from Sheffield City Council passing the motion on ‘Climate Emergency‘, Sheffield Climate Alliance went onto discuss what could be done next. A whole group of volunteers went to work on an idea originally given by Joan Miller and produced this list of ‘Initial Steps that can be taken now’. This list was handed in to Lewis Dagnall, current Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport from our co-chair Jenny Carpenter on Wednesday 20th March.

1.          Source council electricity from only renewable sources and encourage major partners to do likewise. We congratulate the SCC for recently announcing that it will be doing this. We encourage the council to go a step further and help set up a Yorkshire and Humber energy company that creates renewable energy for local consumption and returns all profits to local people/Councils, learning from the Nottingham model, for example.

2.            Set up Carbon Literacy training programmes for Council officers, staff and councillors at all levels. For senior staff, this could include high-level training from Prof. Kevin Anderson from the Tyndall Centre and Prof. Andy Goulson of the University of Leeds, and being proactive in learning from the experience of other cities through UK 100 and attending relevant conferences.

3.            Create a dedicated post to advise the Council on the actions it can take to reduce CO2 emissions, developing and taking forward a climate action plan.

4.             Ensure all council policies and reports from now on include environmental implications alongside legal, financial and equality implications.  The implications should cover i) the impact of these policies etc on climate change – i.e. on carbon emissions, ii) the measures proposed for reducing those emissions, iii)  the consequences of climate change on the policy area etc, and iv) the way that these consequences can be dealt with or ameliorated.  

5.            Press all City Region bodies to plan in a way that ensures that future economic development in all sectors is carried out within appropriate carbon budgets, and promote greater sharing across partnership boards of relevant policies and their implementation.

6.            Ensure that all Council contracts with suppliers implement measures to reduce global warming: this includes sourcing supplies from sustainable sources, for example food for the city’s schools being seasonal and locally sourced as far as possible.

7.            Promote sustainable transport measures such as facilitating safe, convenient and pleasant pedestrian travel, ensuring that the process to establish a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in the city moves forward speedily, greater installation of re-charging points for electric vehicles, introducing safe parking areas for electric bikes, creating more safe cycle routes away from heavy traffic, promoting an improved and reliable bus network, and allowing bikes onto trams for those who commute greater distances.

8.            Support wherever possible sustainable housing, for example via financial incentives (‘seed’ capital) for home efficiency/insulation schemes, solar panel and low carbon heat installation, training of construction workers, and  greater emphasis by the City’s emerging Local Plan and supporting policies  in favour of new homes of high eco-standard to echo the recent recommendations of the Committee on Climate Change.

9.            Work to ensure that South Yorkshire Pension Authority divests its pension fund from all fossil fuels and redirects those funds to invest in local, renewable energy production.

10.          Engage Sheffield citizens from a wide range of backgrounds (businesses, academics, community forums, trade unions, etc.) in the development of the city ‘climate emergency’ response strategy over the next six months, encouraging as many as possible also to play a role in its implementation.

11.          Be proactive in raising public awareness by frequently referring to the climate emergency and the city’s responses in public announcements and press/media releases.