Putting climate change at the top of the agenda

A senior Sheffield councillor says moving to cleaner technology won’t be enough by itself to tackle climate change.

Monday, 14th October 2019, 3:42 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 12:37 pm
Coun Mark Jones, cabinet member for climate change

Coun Mark Jones, cabinet member for climate change, says he wants to push forward a policy to ensure the council looks at the carbon impact for all the decisions it makes.

Currently, when the council takes a decision, officers have to look at how it will impact on the budget and people but Coun Jones wants the environment to be included.

“I’m looking to push forward a policy about carbon literacy and I’m eager for the council to develop a carbon impact assessment for all decisions,” he said. “The first step is highlighting the issues and challenging the decisions we make.

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“Going from petrol cars to electric won’t help congestion so as a council so do we need to do that journey in the first place? Do we need to use a vehicle? How are we ensuring the workforce are not travelling as far? Simply moving to cleaner technology won’t make a difference.”

Coun Jones says environmental improvements and staff welfare are also connected. “I want to look at making our workforce as healthy and active as they can be.

“We think it’s just about CO2 and burning the planet but if you work better and smarter you can make sure staff are catered for and looked after.

“It’s not about just having a sticker above a light switch saying turn it off because if you’re a cleaner coming in at 5am you don’t want the lights out. It’s making people mindful of how they work.

“It’s also looking at devising buildings, for example underground rooms with no natural light aren’t suitable for staff and use too much energy. We need to look at heating, lighting and how we use buildings.”

Coun Jones says it will be vital to measure any impact so the council knows it is reducing carbon consumption.