Environmental activists urge new Sheffield Council leadership to take climate action

Environmental activists gathered outside Sheffield Council’s annual meeting to lobby new leadership on the climate and ecological emergency.

Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 5:12 pm

Campaigners stood outside Ponds Forge, where the meeting was being held for social distancing reasons, with banners which read “climate action now”, “time’s running out” and “what will it take”.

They had speeches, poems and songs.

Ian McHugh campaigner, said: “We are welcoming the councillors from all different parties to the first full council meeting as we think it’s really important that they recognise the urgency of the climate emergency and also celebrating the fact that there is going to be a nature emergency declared in Sheffield on Friday.

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Protesters outside the meeting.

“This is urgent now. To solve the climate problems facing Sheffield over the next 10 years we need to start today.”

Earlier this year, the council held its first climate summit as Arup released its Pathways to Zero report that outlined the steps the council needs to take to reach zero carbon.

At the summit, Andy Sheppard, lead sustainability expert at Arup, said further changes needed in the city include retrofitting every business and home, completely stopping use of fossil fuels, making all cars electric, switching more car trips to active travel like cycling and walking, increasing use of public transport, reductions in energy consumption, switching out gas boilers in 15,000 properties and a significant increase in home installations.

Jenni Crisp, campaigner, said: “We really welcome the Arup report, it’s a really clear roadmap of what we need to do, it’s really ambitious, it’s really far-reaching and we need to be taking action to implement that report.”

Campaigners outside the meeting.

Mr McHugh added: “It’s really important councillors get over their party differences and find ways of working together on this. We don’t want squabbling, we don’t want to waste time – it’s too urgent for that.”

Following a no overall control result at the local elections earlier this month, Sheffield Labour and Greens decided to form a co-operative administration to jointly take control.

They outlined a number of first-year steps this morning which included implementing the recommendations set out in the Arup report to create a pathway to deliver the shared ambition for carbon zero.