Clean and Green Sheffield: Record breaking £1.9m investment will re-power more than 115 buses in next year

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Sheffield will be a cleaner and greener city by the end of the year as Sheffield City Council announces record new investment in the city’s bus fleet.

£1.9m will be invested to retrofit 117 buses across the Sheffield network with emission reduction technology.

Once upgraded, the buses will produce less NOx emissions per kilometre than many types of modern car. The retrofit will reduce NOx emissions of buses to Euro VI standard, complying with standards set out in the council’s own ambitious Clean Air Strategy.

Upgrade work will be prioritised on the bus routes that travel through the worst pollution corridors – particularly First’s routes 51, 52a, 75/76, 81/82, 95 and 97/98, plus the Stagecoach routes 7 and 25. These buses travel around 7.8 million kilometres each year (4.8m miles) and so this prioritisation will significantly improve air quality across the city.

Councillor Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for Transport and Infrastructure at Sheffield City Council, said:

“Polluted air is a public health emergency across our country and we need to take decisive and urgent action to clean up our air.”

“The action we are announcing today is a big step forward in achieving our bold vision of safer, cleaner air for everyone in Sheffield. I’m delighted we are making these improvements, which will mean Sheffield’s bus fleet has amongst the cleanest and greenest bus fleet anywhere in the country.

“We know that air quality isn’t just about health, it’s about fairness and inequality too. As such, I’m especially pleased to confirm that we are focusing these bus upgrades on the routes where pollution is highest and vulnerable people are most affected. This will close the gap between the communities with the dirtiest and cleanest air, which I hope everyone will welcome.

“Of course this isn’t all we are doing. We are already trialling the biggest fleet of low-consumption hydrogen vehicles outside of London. We are introducing anti-idling education and enforcement outside schools.

“I am absolutely committed to a greener and cleaner future for everyone in Sheffield and the investment we are announcing today is an important step on this exciting journey.”

The council is working with all stakeholders to ensure that the impacts of their activities contribute to improving local air quality.

Kevin Belfield, Managing Director at First South Yorkshire, said:

“We are committed to investing in vehicles with ultra-low-emissions that assist with improving air quality and we’re therefore delighted with today’s news. Road congestion continues to be one of the biggest issues facing bus services and so it’s important that alongside today’s announcement that we continue to work with the local authorities and other bus operators to encourage less car usage across the city and entice more people to travel by bus.”

Matt Davies, Managing Director of Stagecoach, said:

“Bus travel is part of the solution to improving air quality in Sheffield. These retrofit engines are ninety five percent cleaner than previous models and emit fewer emissions than an average diesel car, but have 15 to 20 times the capacity and could take 75 cars off the road.”

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Mayoral contender Richard Caborn looks to bring buses back into public control

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Mayoral contender Richard Caborn looks to bring buses back into public control
Bus services across South Yorkshire could be brought back into public control if Richard Caborn is successfully elected South Yorkshire Mayor.

Richard Caborn met today with Sheffield Council’s Lead for Transport, Councillor Jack Scott, and discussed how buses could be re-regulated in the city. These powers could be extended across South Yorkshire, in consultation with local authorities.

 

New powers have been made available to re-regulate buses through the Bus Services Act 2017. This would enable South Yorkshire to improve the quality of local buses, with a single set of standards across all services. Re-regulation could see a return to the days of cheaper fares. In addition, timetables can be improved and routes redrawn to better connect outlying areas. The entire fleet of buses across South Yorkshire could even become the same colour and branded consistently.

Under a franchised system, like London’s, South Yorkshire could take control of bus planning, with services run under contract by private operators.

Currently South Yorkshire’s bus market is entirely deregulated, with most services provided by private firms. Councils and South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive have very limited say over how they are run. This means private bus operators like First and Stagecoach set the majority of their own routes, frequencies, timetables, fares, and standards for most services.

Richard Caborn is currently seeking to be selected as the Labour Party candidate for elected Mayor of South Yorkshire. Launching his campaign last week, Caborn promised to improve transport in the region. He also pledged to fight for better and fairer transport funding, highlighting a key disparity that currently allows ten times as much transport investment to be allocated to London, compared with South Yorkshire.

Seeking Selection as Labour Candidate for South Yorkshire Mayor, Richard Caborn said:

“For too long our buses have been run for the profit of the operator and not for the benefit of passengers. Deregulation has been an unmitigated disaster and, as Mayor, I will work with councils across South Yorkshire to bring our buses back into public control.

“Many people across South Yorkshire rely on a good bus service and what they get from the private bus companies at the moment quite frankly isn’t good enough, we need big changes to services in our region and this will be a priority for me. Better transport is also a key part of growing our economy.

“New powers are available, which will allow South Yorkshire to create a more efficient and affordable bus network, taking us back to the days of cheaper bus fares, with the added opportunity to better link services with trams and trains.”

Sheffield Council’s Lead for Transport, Councillor Jack Scott, said:

“I fully support Richard’s campaign to become Labour’s candidate for South Yorkshire Mayor and I am glad to see that he is prioritising public transport in this bold way.

“Many people in Sheffield travel by bus and, at present, passengers are getting a raw deal. Quite simply, fares are too high, buses are too infrequent and vehicles are too polluting. We need real action. That’s why I believe these new available powers to re-regulate bus services must be implemented urgently and in my view, Richard is the right person with the experience to deliver this.”

Council hope to introduce innovative electric vehicles powered by the waste they collect

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Sheffield City Council has applied for funding to convert two of its retired refuse collection vehicles, to run on electricity. The vehicles, operated by Veolia, would be powered by the waste taken away from households in Sheffield.

If successful, the project could reduce the dependence on diesel by converting existing vehicles at the end of their operation life. This plan could also save money as it would allow the waste contractors to continue to use vehicles that would normally be replaced with new ones. Under this scheme they could operate for at least another seven years.

The bid involves a number of partners, including award-winning Sheffield based firm, Magtec Systems Technology. The company is the largest manufacturer of electric vehicles and has exported over 500 around the world, all of which have been converted here in South Yorkshire. This includes 350 electric trucks to America, a fleet of electric vans to Europe and two electric buses to the Himalayas.

Councillor Bryan Lodge and Councillor Jack Scott recently toured Magtec facilities and met with the company’s founder, Marcus Jenkins.

Councillor Jack Scott, the Cabinet Member for Transport and Sustainability commented:

“We have been very clear that we need to take action in response to the challenges the city faces with air pollution. This scheme is exactly the sort of ground-breaking, innovative opportunity we need to seize to make sure Sheffield’s air is clean and safe for everyone.

“Magtec is such a great Sheffield company, with a proven track record around the world. As well as waste, there is clearly an opportunity for the bus companies in Sheffield to embrace this technology and move away from their dependence on diesel and I’ll be pushing them to do this.”

Councillor Bryan Lodge, the Cabinet Member for Environment and Streetscene, and responsible for waste collections said: “I was really pleased to have the chance to visit Magtec and be able to speak to Marcus and his team about the work they are doing.

“To be able to trial electric refuse vehicles in Sheffield is a fantastic opportunity, allowing it to be one of the first cities where the vehicles are powered by our waste, using a system that has been designed and manufactured here.”

Sheffield’s Labour Council Blasts Government’s “weak, vague and feeble” Sustainability Plan and commits itself to real action

 

 

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*** IMMEDIATE RELEASE ***

Sheffield’s Labour Council Blasts Government’s “weak, vague and feeble” Sustainability Plan and commits itself to real action

12 January

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s new 25 Year Sustainability Strategy, Cabinet Member for Transport and Sustainability, Councillor Jack Scott said:

“Just like the Tory government itself, these announcements are weak, vague and feeble. This is a huge missed opportunity to create the greener and more sustainable Britain that we all need. The plan has been slammed by dozens of environmental groups. Michael Gove’s refusal to listen to experts is costing us all dearly.

“It’s ridiculous to have a plan spanning 25 years. A 25 month plan is needed, with real action, vision and tough laws to make it a reality. The lack of timely action is especially concerning in light of the Tories’ turbo-charged Brexit, which will stop the UK having the benefit of the many environmental protections, targets and regulations that help to keep us safe.

“Most concerning of all is the lack of real action. There are no new laws planned and many of these announcements, such as on air quality or climate change, are simply repeating and repackaging previous announcements. We absolutely need to increase recycling rates, but this shouldn’t extend to rehashing government statements and then pretending they are new. Britain deserves a government that will nurture and cherish our green and beautiful island, not this threadbare bodge job.

“The Labour Council in Sheffield takes this issue seriously, even if the government doesn’t. So I’m pleased that next month the Council’s Cabinet will consider a “Green City Strategy”, with the concrete action we need to forge a cleaner, greener and brighter future for our great city.”

Many environmental groups have also criticised the Government’s announcements:

Greenpeace UK’s Executive Director John Sauven said:

“If Theresa May wants to persuade people this is more than just husky-hugging, she needs to put some joined-up thinking at the heart of her strategy. You can’t claim to care about climate change and our countryside and then back fracking, or care about the next generation and then let air pollution harm our kids’ health.

“The environment is now a mainstream concern in this country, with millions of people caring deeply about it. Theresa May has a unique opportunity to rise to the challenge and make Britain a global leader in environmental protection. She should not waste it.”

Chief Executive of Friends of the Earth, Craig Bennett said:

“A long-term vision for protecting our environment is essential, but the Government can’t keep turning a blind eye to the urgent action needed now to protect our health and planet from toxic air and climate-wrecking pollution.

It’s time to stop tinkering at the margins and get to the heart of the problems – especially the nation’s fossil fuels addiction. Ministers must pull the plug on coal, gas and oil, end its support for fracking and develop the UK’s huge renewable power potential.

25 years is a long way off – particularly for a government that might not last 25 weeks. We need action now.”
– ENDS –

For further information please contact:
Email: sheffield.labourcouncillors@outlook.com
Tel: 07968 676 022

Sheffield Labour Council Slams Tory “Great Train Robbery”

Sheffield’s Labour Council has blasted the eye-watering rise in ticket prices, which comes in to force today.

Rail fares will go up by an average of 3.4%, the highest increase in five years. Ticket prices have already risen by 27% since 2010, twice the rate of wages.

Councillor Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for Transport at Sheffield City Council said:

“This price rise is a total disgrace and will hit hard-working Sheffielders in their pockets hard. For the tens of thousands of Sheffield people who use the trains, this ‘Great Train Robbery’ is an awful way to start 2018.

“Our railways are being run by greedy fat cats on ever higher salaries, when they should be run as a public service, for the public good, with money re-invested in the public interest. Our railway system should be run for the benefit of the many, not to enrich a privileged few.”

“Fares have risen faster wages every year of this clueless government, but the Tories still have the cheek to say there isn’t money to electrify the Midland Mainline, even though it would boost growth by £450 million and help to rebalance our economy.”

“Privatisation has been a disaster for our railways, with higher fares, lower punctuality and a focus on short-term profit rather than long-term investment. Only Labour has the ambition and courage to deliver the railway the public deserves in 2018”

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Irina Amelkina of Gleadless, Sheffield works in Nottingham and commutes every day. She said:

“It’s absolutely absurd rail fares are going up yet again. It’s completely unfair that shareholders and executives at the top are making so much whilst the rest of us are being squeezed and losing out. The railways should be nationalised. It’s really galling to have to pay just to see companies make even more money for slow and unreliable services”

The RMT general secretary, Mick Cash, said:

“While workers are struggling, the private train companies are raking it in. As we enter the 25th anniversary of railway privatisation legislation, the need for public ownership of rail has never been more popular or necessary.

New 20 Miles Per Hour Zone in Sheffield City Centre

Sheffield City Council will introduce a 20mph speed limit in the city centre following strong public backing to the recent consultation.

 

Sheffield drivers to face 20mph city centre speed limit from Sheffield Live on Vimeo.

A 20mph speed will now be rolled out before the end of the year on hundreds of streets in Sheffield city centre in a bid to make roads safer, better for pedestrians and cyclists and to improve air quality. The consultation sought public feedback on Council plans to provide a new speeding zone on more than 300 roads in the middle of the city, encompassing nearly every street apart from a few major thoroughfares such as Arundel Gate, Derek Dooley Way and Sheaf Street.

The Council is also making plans for additional improvements to tackle congestion on the inner ring-road.

Over the recent months the city centre has witnessed an increasing number of traffic accidents and this is something the Council clearly wanted to address. It is hoped that reducing the speed of traffic in residential areas will, in the long term, reduce the number and severity of accidents. This should also reduce the fear that accidents will take place, thereby, likely to lead to more sustainable modes of travel such as cycling being adopted – resulting in a more cohesive environment overall.

Since Labour were elected to run Sheffield City Council in 2011 a series of measures have been undertaken to achieve their aim of establishing 20mph as the maximum speed for residential areas throughout Sheffield. The restriction has already been introduced with great success in areas such as Darnall, Gleadless Valley, Heeley and Stannington and now the city centre is to follow.

Labour Councillor for City Ward, Moya O’Rourke, was elected in 2015 and after many conversations with local residents it became apparent that there was an overwhelming majority who backed the plans: “Since my election I made a promise to the ward that I would make our city centre roads safer and more environmentally friendly – and I have been pushing for 20 mph zones in the centre to do just that.

“I’m delighted that so many residents in my ward contributed to the council’s public consultation. There is no way this policy would have got off the ground if there wasn’t such a strong will to make it happen by Labour councillors. It’s quite odd that the Sheffield’s Green Party are always trying to claim credit for the policy as, quite frankly, their involvement and relevance to this has been zero”.

Councillor Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for Transport and Infrastructure at Sheffield City Council, said:

“Anyone who’s been in our city centre recently will have seen that it is growing rapidly and for the better, with cranes, new shops and new developments. It needs to be a place where safety and sustainable travel are actively supported and encouraged.

“I’m pleased that the consultation was received so positively. This Labour Council is absolutely determined to improve road safety throughout the city and 20mph zones play a big role in this. Not only do speeds reduce in these areas, there’s a reduction in the severity of the accidents and an improvement in air quality”.

Councillor Scott also acknowledged that some submissions to the consultation questioned the effect of the speeding zones on air pollution.

In response Councillor Scott said: “I am aware of concerns that travelling at 20mph could negatively affect air quality. However, the evidence actually shows that at a constant lower speed a driver will use less fuel, and safer roads should mean more people taking up walking and cycling instead. I am absolutely committed to improving safety on our roads and taking real action to improve Sheffield’s air quality. Pleasingly, this measure should help in both of these respects in City Ward”.

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