Sheffield’s Labour Council Condemns “Dangerous and Reckless” Fracking Approval in Nearby Community

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Sheffield City Council has reacted with anger and disappointment at today’s announcement that fracking will be allowed in North East Derbyshire, which borders Sheffield.
 
The Council has formally objected to the application and has led the way in opposing shale gas extraction.
 
Councillor Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for Transport and Development at Sheffield City Council said:
 
“I am furious and dismayed at this decision. Let’s be clear here – fracking is dirty, dangerous and reckless and should not be happening in North East Derbyshire, Sheffield or anywhere else. It risks causing earthquakes, polluting our water and damaging our area’s beautiful countryside. I have asked our Planning Team to undertake an urgent assessment of the risks that will arise for Sheffield from today’s dangerous decision.
 
Even if fracking could be undertaken safely, which it can’t, it is still a grubby fossil fuel. These are causing catastrophic climate change and rapid global burning. We have already found more carbon than we can safely burn, so we certainly don’t want any more.
 
Instead, we need a revolution in renewable energy generation and a fair transition to a more sustainable way of living that protects our environment for future generations. The UK’s planning policies need to reflect this, not make it easier for a few big-boss fat cats to pile up even more money by raiding and pillaging our precious environment.”
 
Councillor Scott continued:
 
“It’s at times like this that the public look to elected representatives for clear leadership, not weasel words. I am disgusted with the actions of the local Tory MP, Lee Rowley, who isn’t anti-fracking and supports the Conservative government’s approach. North East Derbyshire deserves better. It’s clear we need a Labour government to ban fracking altogether and put in place the rules that will protect our environment for the many, not the few.”
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Response to Government’s Latest Fracking Announcement

 

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Central government today announced measures to support the development of British Shale Gas through local planning systems.

Sheffield City Council’s Cabinet for Development and Transport, Councillor Jack Scott, responded by saying: 

“We need a revolution in renewable energy, not more dirty fossil fuels.

But today it is clear that the government wants to press on with a reckless dash for gas, regardless of evidence, public opinion or the impacts on local communities.

This approach is an unwelcome mix of caving into the fracking industry and ploughing ahead with existing plans for fracking regardless of local views.

Despite their empty words about local consultation, the government is setting a dangerous precedent in taking away local decision making on planning decisions, and putting it in the hands of Tory ministers. This could see fracking unfairly imposed on areas against the will of local communities.

Labour has repeatedly made it clear we believe local communities do not want fracking in their area and we will continue to support our communities working to resist the unwanted advances of fracking companies, motivated purely by the huge profits they will make and not the legacy they will leave.”

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.

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 City Council Calls for Bold Action on Climate Change

Sheffield City Council has today reacted to the formal publication of two new reports into the causes and effects of climate change.

The 5th Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the most complete assessment ever undertaken of the planet’s climate, set up by the United Nations. The IPCC does not carry out its own research, but bases its assessment on the published work of scientists across the world. The IPCC report is over 2000 pages in length and cites over 9000 scientific publications. It is the most thorough scientific document produced.

It has concluded that [direct quotes]:

• “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia.”
• “Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide have increased to levels unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years.”
• “Human influence on the climate system is clear. It is extremely likely (95-100% probability) that human influence was the dominant cause of global warming between 1951-2010.”
• “Continued emissions of greenhouse gases will cause further global warming and changes in all components of the climate system. Limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.”
• “Most aspects of climate change will persist for many centuries even if emissions of CO2 are stopped.”

At the same time, research published by the Met Office in the academic journal ‘Nature Climate Change’ has found that global warming will lead to drier, hotter summers in the UK, which are more prone to both long droughts and short extreme downpours.

In response, Councillor Jack Scott, the Council’s Cabinet Member for the Environment said: “These new reports provide strong and compelling scientific evidence that climate change is happening, is caused by human activity and will have a devastating impact if urgent action is not taken to reduce our carbon emissions and invest in mitigation.

“It highlights the need for a global, legally binding treaty to cut carbon emissions at the Paris Conference next year. We also need to decarbonise our energy supply and invest massively in clean renewable energy and create green collar jobs.

“Sheffield people remember the awful floods of 2007 and 2010 – these scientific reports are telling us that problems like those are going to happen more often and be even more severe. They paint a very bleak picture for our future, for our city and our planet, unless we take determined, consistent and bold action to reduce carbon emissions now.

“We’ve established a Green Commission to build agreement of what needs to happen and develop a proper plan to make sure we take action on the greatest threat our society faces. As one of the greenest cities, Sheffield needs to be a national leader in this work. We cannot afford to get this wrong.”

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Sheffield City Council Launches Green Commission – Come and Join Us

Sheffield City Council is announcing today that it is establishing a Green Commission for the city. This follows from the success of the Fairness Commission, which looked at how Sheffield can be a fairer more equitable place to live and work.

Employing this approach, the Green Commission will explore how Sheffield can be more sustainable and establish the benefits that this will bring across the City.

The Green Commission will create a vision and blueprint for the future of Sheffield as a whole and not just for the city council.

This is a huge task and the Council cannot undertake it alone. We need the public, businesses and organisations across our city to help us shape a vision for a sustainable future for Sheffield.

Councillor Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for the Environment said: “We already know Sheffield is one of the greenest cities in Europe and has a proud green heritage. But we also know that we face big challenges, particularly from climate change, which could change every aspect of our lives.

“We need to craft a clear vision for our city so we can take clear, long-term action to make sure that we are protecting our environment and building a strong economy.” 

“I’m really pleased to be launching this Commission that will take a long-term look at Sheffield’s environment and build a blueprint for action. I hope as many people as possible will get involved and come to the event we are holding to launch Sheffield’s Green Commission.”

 

The first public meeting of the Green Commission will be held on April 8th at 7pm in the Town Hall. This first meeting will be a chance to help guide the process and decide the key topics for the Green Commission to concentrate on.

Due to space constraints, numbers are limited to around 100 people so it is vital that you notify us in advance of your attendance and any special requirements you may have.

If you wish to attend please email us on greencommission@sheffield.gov.uk