City Council Launches Ambitious “Sheffield Green City”

Sheffield has begun the journey to becoming a zero-carbon city by 2050 with the launch of its bold new Green City strategy with an ambitious six-point plan and launch of a new partnership to tackle the issues.

The report, set to be endorsed by the Council’s cabinet tomorrow, aims to reduce the city’s impact on the climate by becoming a zero-carbon city by 2050, taking steps to move to a low-carbon economy immediately.

It also sets out plans to empower communities, residents, public sector and businesses to become resilient to climate change and ensure the city’s homes and businesses use sustainable and affordable energy.

It will enable modern, reliable and clean journeys for everyone, ensure air is clean for all and create a green and innovative economy by supporting Sheffield businesses to become more energy efficient and delivering new low-carbon jobs for local people.

Green City Sheffield builds upon the ground breaking work of the Sheffield Green Commission. Sheffield City Council has already been leading the way to becoming a low-carbon economy.

Sheffield is testing the largest fleet of hydrogen vehicles outside of London and is the first large city to introduce anti-idling measures to stop people leaving their engines running outside schools. As a further sign of its commitment, the Council has also introduced the UK’s largest dockless bike sharing scheme.

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

“Our Green City is a deliberately ambitious and far-reaching plan, with big implications for how we live and work in Sheffield. We believe this is the clearest, boldest and most developed plan of anywhere in Britain.

“It clearly sets out the changes we need to make to be prepared for challenges like more extreme and unpredictable weather, as well as the investments and opportunities that will help to improve our health, clear our air, make our city easier to get around and make our energy more affordable for everyone.

“I am very clear that man-made climate change is the biggest social justice issue of this century and requires bold, radical action. This plans sets out how we will respond to this huge challenge and enhance and protect Sheffield’s environment for everyone.”

Sheffield was one of the first cities in the UK to introduce district heating and implement clean air powers in the 1970s and private sector investment has created a further two biomass-powered decentralised energy plants in the city.


Councillor Scott said:

“We have a great track-record of delivery and we need to work collectively to achieve our ambitious goals.

“I absolutely recognise that the transition to a low carbon economy will not always be easy, and will involve difficult choices at times. But this is about doing the right thing for people across our city, in order to create a fairer city, as the effects of climate change are not just environmental or economic.

“At its heart, man-made climate change is a social justice issue that especially affects people who are less-well-off.

“We want to enable all Sheffielders, businesses, institutions and organisations to play a role developing and delivering the solutions that will take Sheffield towards a zero carbon future.

“This is a bold, ambitious and credible plan for our great city that will help us to create and protect an environment that everyone can enjoy. We all know there has been a huge amount of debate and discussion over street trees on both sides.

“But we will only be able to build a fairer city if we focus on other broader environmental issues like decarbonisation, energy generation and the green-collar jobs of the future. This plan shows how we will do that.

“This plan gives us the tools we need to achieve our vision for Sheffield, where everyone breathes clean air, can access reliable, clean transport, feels safe and secure from the threats posed by man-made climate change and has access to affordable, sustainable energy to heat and power their homes and businesses.”

During 2015 Sheffield City Council facilitated the city’s first Green Commission. This independent commission was made up of key leaders and stakeholders from across the city, including business, industry, our universities, the public sector and the voluntary and community sector.

The final report of the Sheffield Green Commission – Sheffield’s Green Commitment – was published in 2016, and set out a vision for how, working together as a city, Sheffield could become a smarter, more sustainable, more competitive ‘future city’.

The Green City strategy will initially result in a city–wide Sustainable Energy Action Plan and signing-up to a recognised carbon reporting framework.

By 2020, the Council will have achieved a 30 per cent reduction in carbon emissions, and, in the next seven years, the Council and its partners will have substantially increased the level of low carbon and renewable energy generation in the city

By 2030, a majority of the city’s energy will be supplied from low carbon and renewable technologies, with work already being progressed to determine how the Council can use its own assets to generate renewable energy, and develop its existing energy networks.

The council will also launch a debate around how the city can adopt and stay within an agreed carbon budget, that enables Sheffield to deliver its share of the Paris Agreement; this will limit average temperature increases to well-below 2 degrees Celsius, and will have the aim of ensuring Sheffield becomes a zero carbon city by 2050.

To view the report, click here.


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”.


Air Quality Interview – Sheffield Live Video

Council condemns government plan on vehicle pollution from Sheffield Live on Vimeo.

Air Quality Interview – BBC Radio Sheffield

I was interviewed by Radio Sheffield on the government’s shabby, shoddy, weak and wobbly announcements on Air Quality.

You can listen to the interview below.

Emissions Scandal

Last year I gave evidence to Parliament on the issue of air quality, where we covered the methods car manufacturers use to mask poor air emissions.

This is a truly global scandal. I believe literally millions of customers across continents have been ripped off – I would go as far as to call it the “PPI sandal” of the car industry.

You can see my evidence to the House of Commons committee below – I start at 15:09 – just after Boris Johnson!

Click Here to see the evidence.

The full report is here – which talks at length about the need for a proper testing regime, agreed international standards and the need for real world testing, not just lab trials.

Addressing Sheffield Air Quality Conference

I recently addressed the Sheffield Air Quality Conference, organised by the excellent East End Quality of Live Initiative.

Let me know what you think.