Environmental campaigners' Green New Deal petition calls for 10,000 eco-jobs in Sheffield
The petition, which will be presented by Dr Joan Miller, is calling for 10,000 new green jobs in the next two years in a revitalised and sustainable economy that is fit for the future and leaves ‘no-one and nowhere out’.
It comes on the tenth anniversary of a previous petition by campaigners to Sheffield City Council for 10,000 new green jobs, and comes 1,016 days after Sheffield declared a climate emergency.
Dr Miller was involved in the petition ten years ago and is very critical of the failure to act since then.
A previous UK Chief Scientific Advisor, professor Sir David King, says the next three to four years are crucial in determining the future of humanity, and so Sheffield campaigners say it is vital that their pleas do not fail again.
The green jobs the campaigners want cover roles that reduce global heating like insulation, jobs that restore nature, wildlife friendly farming and low carbon jobs that create a healthy society. They also say the jobs need to be decent in term of pay and conditions.
Research conducted by Green New Deal UK says that over 10,000 jobs could be created in Sheffield across green infrastructure and care work in the next two years, and up to 23,000 jobs in the next ten years.
The group says it would require an investment of around £250 million to £350 million per year for two years but the jobs could be useful for replacing the estimated 6,000 job losses likely to be suffered in Sheffield due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dr Miller said Sheffield had “powerful resources and people power”.
“There is so much to do and Sheffield has all sorts of resources and people power that we are not utilising,” she said.
"For example, we’re not providing training for jobs in retro-fitting locally, despite having a good college and the further education budget devolved to South Yorkshire level. For every £1 invested in retro-fitting, there would be a £3 financial return to the economy.
"It’s astonishing we are not doing this: there are all sorts of green jobs that we desperately need that are also useful right now to our communities. These jobs include highly skilled, semi-skilled and entry level.”
The campaigners say financial constraints are frequently used as a reason for the lack of action by the council.
In response, Geoff Cox from the South Yorkshire Climate Alliance said: “Green investments are now financially viable and future-proofed. It’s exactly what long term investors like pension funds need.
"Central Government is now offering Green Bonds, there is a National Infrastructure Bank, local authorities such as Birmingham and West Berkshire have issued municipal bonds, and bodies such as the Green Finance Institute are there to advise. Sheffield Council needs to get its act together and find the money to invest in the Arup report’s decarbonisation measures, nature recovery programmes and nature-friendly food production.”
The petition will be put to Sheffield Council on November 18.