City's green initiatives praised by author

THE AUTHOR of a radical plan for new green economies has praised Sheffield Council's plan for tackling climate change and surviving the recession.

Colin Hines, co-authored the national Green New Deal report, in which he said the best way for the country to escape the downturn was to plough money into environmental projects, realigning the national economy on a green basis.

A Sheffield conference exploring Mr Hines' ideas has now provided the basis for a new council plan - to be discussed by the cabinet next Wednesday.

Officers said it would be used to develop council policies on a broad range of subjects – from economic strategy to the local transport plan.

Key suggestions include attracting high-tech green companies to the city, and finding money to expand programmes to make housing more carbon efficient.

Local environmental campaigners criticised the council's plan for its lack of "concrete suggestions", but today Mr Hines came out in support of the authority.

"It is heartening to see a council is willing to change the way it thinks about what economic growth should look like," he told The Star.

"Obviously this report is cautious and couched in a language very different to those of us trying to push reform - but the intent is there.

"The council officers in Sheffield are right on the button when they talk about realigning economic models.

"Most authorities are still talking about banks and shopping malls, but this one has recognised these things no longer work.

"We are entering an era of high saving and low spending - and I get the impression Sheffield is serious about changing thinking, and finding a new way of boosting the economy whilst stopping climate change."

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