SCA response to SCR Region Renewal Action Plan

The Region Renewal Action Plan is a COVID-19 specific plan, focused on addressing the direct and indirect impacts of the pandemic, which can be viewed here

Sheffield Climate Alliance Response

Sheffield Climate Alliance (SCA) includes a wide range of groups operating in Sheffield and the surrounding area who share a concern for environmental, economic and social justice and who campaign for a sustainable world. SCA pressed for the Declaration of a Climate Emergency and through Sheffield’s Green City Partnership Board for the Zero Carbon Report. SCA has backed the proposed Sheffield Central Area Clean Air Zone and has criticised the TfN Strategic Plan.We recognise the urgency required in the preparation and implementation of SCR’s Renewal Action Plan. It is important, however, to stress that the context is not only Covid 19 but also the ongoing Climate Emergency. The main point is that carbon emission reduction should be a key
consideration in each investment programme. The Stronger – Greener -Fairer strapline should
be the test for allocating each of the investment streams.We endorse the need to upskill the workforce, “matching people to opportunity, especially in industries like clean energy, health and care, advanced manufacturing and construction”.The shortage of skilled workers in the construction industry itself poses a limitation on the scale at which homes can be retrofitted. The inclusion of DN Colleges Digital Infrastructure and Construction Space packages among the Major Capital Schemes for Investment is especially relevant. There is currently a serious shortage of labour with the skills to build and retrofit buildings to high energy efficiency standards. We urge SCR to engage urgently with its partners to seek solutions to this. See the recent IPPR report at https://www.ippr.org/research/publications/all-hands-to-the-pump (pages 26-28). A similar situation applies to enhancing biodiversity and natural capital.The emphasis on supply chain and procurement support could significantly reduce transport-related carbon emissions, as well as strengthening the local economy.We applaud the target of maintaining the levels of cycling and walking achieved during lockdown.
Improved cycle routes, grants for cycles and e-bikes, and trialling low traffic neighbourhoods.
We note that increased public patronage is a target: the unsatisfactory bus services must be firmly
addressed.Section 3A of the report identifies shovel-ready “decarbonisation, natural capital and clean energy
investments”. Section 3B identifies shovel-ready “construction and regeneration activities that will unlock growth and resilience in local economies”. We would simply point out that schemes identified under 3B must be scrutinised to ensure that they contribute minimally to carbon emissions and will not require expensive modification in a few years’ time. In particular, hydrogen technologies should not be developed for heating in buildings (with the possible exception of niche applications using electrolysers) because of the lack of a potential sustainable supply of that gas and the risk of locking in emissions. We have discussed this subject with SCR officers and support the view of the IPPR report referenced above. The desire to achieve quick results must not trump the need to combat global warming.

Jenny Carpenter (co-Chair, Sheffield Climate Alliance)

30 July 2020