Comment - It was the Greens' year in Sheffield - expect more outrage in 2022.

It was the Greens’ year. From parking bans to the clean air zone, and from road closures to ice creams, their dabs were all over 2021.

Thursday, 23rd December 2021, 5:29 pm
From parking bans to the clean air zone, and from road closures to ice creams, the Greens' dabs were all over 2021.

That’s not to say they are popular. A lot of what they want is disruptive or downright damaging to business. But someone voted them in, so expect more outrage in 2022.

But just to recap. The Greens are pushing for Pinstone Street to stay closed to traffic.

Amid raging arguments about buses, the environment - and practically, due to hotel building work - its closure has been extended until at least April 16.

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The clean air zone is coming in next year, after Labour kicked it into the long grass during the pandemic.

Traditional free Christmas parking was ditched this season for sending the wrong message. And a road closure in Kelham Island was this week made permanent. Would that have happened without the Greens?

Meanwhile, the great ice cream debate got people talking about whether vans should run engines all day near playgrounds for the sake of a sweet treat.

Many others are seeking to save the planet. The government is pumping millions into nuclear and wind power, hoping to transition to a low carbon economy without anyone really noticing.

Sheffield firm ITM Power is a world leader in hydrogen and Forgemasters is trialling it in its hungry furnaces. South Yorkshire mayor Dan Jarvis is a big supporter of cycling.

But it is the Greens who are taking the bull by the horns – and sometimes running way ahead of the public.

Is it unreasonable to ask for much better bus services before expecting them to be an alternative to cars on Ecclesall Road?

And there is the risk of a backlash if they go too far, dumped by voters at the next election.

But if we accept there’s a climate emergency then someone needs to come up with alternatives that have real impact - and quickly.

Councillors judged the issue so urgent they voted to make Sheffield City Council carbon neutral in just eight years’ time.

So expect many more Green ideas next year – workplace parking levy anyone?

Merry Christmas!