Why we keep asking the right questions (especially at Election Time…)

At Sheffield Climate Alliance, we’ve often spoken about the need to keep ‘Speaking Up’. A large part of what we currently do is to lobby councillors and MPs and discuss with them ways to effectively tackle climate change. It’s partially why some SCA members took part in The Climate Coalition’s ‘The Time Is Now’ event in June this year and why we agreed to host the last three years of ‘The Big Conversation on Climate Change, with Paul Blomfield MP’. This September, Paul had to tackle questions on HS2, Fracking, General Public Transport, Youth Strikes and how exactly his party would work on tackling carbon emissions to name but a few.

After some discussion with our friends at ‘Hope for The Future’, we agreed to draft some questions at our recent November monthly meeting that people could raise with their potential Parliamentary Candidates and see what their viewpoint (and their political parties) were on a range of climate change and environmental issues. This blog captures the questions that we’ve discussed with ‘Hope for the Future’ that we encourage you to ask. What’s more, we’ve even listed some local hustings you may want to attend. Particularly, SCA members hope to support the Sheffield Friends of The Earth and Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust’s hustings on Thursday 5th and Friday 6th December respectively. If you’re on social media and particularly use Twitter, feel free to use the hashtag #climatequestions and copy in our handle @ShefClimateNews if you manage to use any of our questions or share extra hustings information. An article written by ‘The Week‘ within the last 48 hours has indicated how high on the political agenda climate change could now be. For example, Channel 4 News is hosting the first ever televised election debate specifically on climate change on Thursday 28th November at 7 pm, thanks to the lobbying group ‘Possible’. If you still need any convincing about raising the issue of climate change during the election, check out this inspiring video from ‘Hope for the Future’. Thanks to producer Max Fyldes and assistant producer and presenter Robbie Macpherson for letting us share this and for their cooperation with this blog’.

Suggested questions for candidates, drafted by Sheffield Climate Alliance and Hope for the Future

1.    In order to ensure workers in traditional industries are not left behind by a transition towards a green economy, how will you and your party, if elected, ensure the creation of green, sustainable jobs?

2.    How, if elected, will you and your party ensure that an effective carbon tax is introduced – that doesn’t alienate communities from the climate movement – but is effective in ensuring emissions don’t exceed the recommended 1.5 degree increase?

3.    What can be done to encourage (or force) business to include climate risk and carbon taxation in their long term financial and business plans?

4.    Will you commit to commissioning a full and independent study into the effectiveness of upland management systems on flood management and biodiversity?

5.    (Preamble) With the climate emergency, and recent fracking moratorium due to lack of scientific evidence to support fracking (and with so much evidence to the contrary – showing it has caused large earthquakes, poisoned water and rivers, and exacerbated climate change with methane release) INEOS – South Yorkshire and the UK’s largest PEDL license holder – seems to be unaffected by the moratorium and is still going ahead with exploratory drilling at nearby Harthill. Also the toxic “fracking under the radar” process of acidulation isn’t considered to be within the bounds of the moratorium?What will you do to completely ban fracking and all unconventional fossil fuel extraction from the UK? 

6.    What if elected would you and your party do to combat the inhumane treatment of animals, including the banning of driven grouse shooting?

7.    The transport sector contributes most to UK emissions, with just over 50% of the emissions in that sector coming through the use of private transport including cars. What, if elected, will you and your party do to encourage the use of public transport?

8.    How, if elected, will you and your party ensure that in a political environment consumed by Brexit the climate emergency will be given the attention it deserves?

9.    The UK Government currently has a Net Zero target of 2050. Do you support this target? If elected how would you and your party, ensure carbon neutrality and work to combat climate change?

10. If elected would you and your party commit to the creation of a Citizens Assembly to lead the Government on ensuring climate and ecological justice? 

Hustings Listings

  1. A hustings has been arranged on Friday 29th November at 7pm, St. Mark’s Church, Broomfield Road, S10 2SE. Candidates from Sheffield Central are being invited, as Broomhill and Broomhall are part of that constituency. So far the following have accepted invitations: Paul Blomfield (Labour); Colin Ross (Liberal Democrats); Alison Teal (Green Party).
  2. Hustings with candidates standing in the NE Derbyshire constituency on Saturday 30th November, 4pm at St. Paul’s Methodist Church, Green Lane, Dronfield, S18 2LP. All voters in NE Derbyshire constituency welcome to attend and question the candidates.
  3. ‘Sheffield Save our NHS’ has organised a general election hustings meeting entitled “The Nation’s health and the NHS under the next government”. The hustings will take place from 7.00 pm at the Central United Reform Church, 60 Norfolk Street, Sheffield S1 2JB. Speakers confirmed are Olivia Blake (Labour Party – Sheffield Hallam), Dr Gordon Gregory (Conservative Party – Sheffield Heeley), Alison Teal (Green Party – Sheffield Central), Paul Ward (Brexit Party – Sheffield Central). At present Lib Dems agreed to send candidate..If you would like to send a question please send to  teamssonhs@gmail.com by Monday 2nd December 2019 6pm.
  4. Sheffield Friends of The Earth, in association with Owlthorpe Fields Action Group, are hosting a hustings on Thursday 5th December at 7pm. Taking place at Rainbow Forge Primary Academy, Beighton Road, Hackenthorpe, Sheffield S12 4LQ. If you would like to ask a question in advance, please email Lindy at
  5. A special hustings event organised by Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust around the General Election on Friday 6th December, 7 to 9pm, at the auditorium in The Diamond, University of Sheffield, 32 Leavygreave Road, Sheffield. S&R Wildlife Trust CEO Liz Ballard will ask the questions and chair the event. Sheffield Central candidates have been invited to speak and Paul Blomfield (Labour), Alison Teal (Green) and Janice Silvester-Hall (Conservative) are confirmed. 

You can find out more about the work some of Alliance friends carry out here:

Hope for The Future – link to website here

Sheffield Friends of The Earth – link to website here

Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust – link to website here