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Stopping the council mowing grass verges

July 2019

A new petition aims to stop Sheffield City Council mowing grass verges at the sides of roads, where there is no foot traffic or safety concern. Long grass is an important habitat for many insects; we need to create more such areas due to climate change. Rotherham Council now treats such areas as wildflower meadows with popular approval.

Petition on 38

Extinction Rebellion success in Sheffield?

14th May 2019

Activists from Extinction Rebellion Sheffield have engaged in protests that saw more arrests than the poll tax riots but were entirely peaceful. The movement is favour of a sustainable world free from the impending threat of climate breakdown and full of new possibilities. The following is taken from the Sheffield City Council news website

Councillor Lewis Dagnall, Cabinet Member for Climate Change at Sheffield City Council, has today (14th May 2019) invited Extinction Rebellion and other climate change groups to meet with him to discuss the global climate emergency and how Sheffield can become a zero carbon city.

Councillor Dagnall spoke at Extinction Rebellion Sheffield’s rally and demonstration outside the Town Hall on 15th May before the annual full council meeting. He said: “Sheffield was one of the first major cities to declare a climate change emergency following last year’s major wake-up call by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

“We are working urgently with partners to understand the implications for Sheffield, and will soon revise the city’s deadline for carbon neutrality to take account of our obligations. It is likely our target will need to be brought forward by decades, such is scale of the emergency.

“Sheffield can be proud of its track record. The city has long pursued progressive policies towards the environment and embraced new, cleaner technology – from introducing district heating in the 1970s to trialing the largest fleet of hydrogen vehicles outside of London today.

“However, we must now go much further and much faster to avert irreversible damage to our environment and climate. It must be a joint task for the city as a whole, and in my new role as lead member for climate change at the City Council, I want to invite Extinction Rebellion and other groups campaigning on climate change to meet with me to discuss how we can work together.”

In January, Sheffield brought forward its carbon neutral targets and declared a ‘climate emergency’ after new research warned of the catastrophic consequences of global warming. It is now the largest city in the UK to declare a ‘climate emergency’. Updated plans for how they will tackle the crisis were discussed as a motion at a full council. The city council wants to ensure that as a local authority and as a whole city we are doing everything we can to limit reduce carbon emissions and limit man-made climate change.

The council already has plans to become carbon neutral by 2050 but it is now working with partners to bring it forward by years, if not decades.

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.

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.

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’.

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.

Extinction Rebellion Sheffield invites all those interested in ensuring action is taken to join in planning future disruptive and collaborative non-violent direct action on the streets of Sheffield. Meetings are every Monday evening at Union St. Cafe. Meal at 6pm (£3 suggested donation); Meeting/Induction 6.45-8.00pm.

Extinction Rebellion

Housing co-operative vacancy at Share Instead

June/summer 2019

Share Instead Housing Co-op has a vacancy, and another one very likely soon.

Share Instead is a five-member mutual housing co-op living in a spacious old house in Sharrow/Nether Edge with a large garden. They make decisions by consensus and aim to keep rent below the maximum paid by Housing Benefit. Eating is together on weekday evenings, taking turns to prepare a vegan meal. They share the costs of food, as well as maintenance costs and bills, and also share the work involved in running the co-op and caring for the house.

Share Instead has a core aim of working towards a more peaceful, sustainable and fairer world. They want the co-op to be a place that supports members in activities which help to build such a world. The co-op is a member of Radical Routes secondary co-op, a network of trading and housing co-ops with similar values.

If you are interested in joining a housing co-op, please email for more details and how to apply.

Share Instead info at Radical Routes

Sheffield People’s Petition succeeds

Autumn 2018, petition open until Aug. 2019

A petition is aiming to improve how Sheffield Council works. It urges a referendum to move from the current undemocratic "strong leader" system (just 10 councillors make nearly all decisions) to a modern committee system where all councillors have real power to represent the communities that elected them, and a big issue for local democracy, it was covered in an Alt-Sheff article in Now Then magazine.

The petition is being run by It’s Our City, a non-party-political community network in Sheffield.

UPDATE December 2018

Feedback shows a big gap in people’s knowledge of how the Council works under the "strong leader" system. Virtually everyone does not know that the power to make nearly all decisions is in the hands of just 10 out of the 84 elected councillors. People are genuinely shocked, and about 80%+ support and sign the petition for change, which is heading towards half of the total necessary signatures.

UPDATE July 2019

From 23rd August, the council will no longer have a choice – a referendum will be statutorily required under the 2011 Localism Act. The campaign has achieved the required number of signatures.

The first batch of 7000 signatures triggered a Full Council debate on 3rd July. The campaign called on the Council to change to a committee system, the last timetabled opportunity for the Council to avoid costs of a referendum. (Many councils have freely decided to make the change, most recently Cheshire East.)

The outcome of the Council debate was rather strange. The motion proposed by Deputy Leader Cllr. Olivia Blake (which was passed) refers the issue to herself, for discussion with others, to report within six months. This is confusing because the petition will automatically force a city-wide vote far sooner. The Council will be legally forced to start preparations before the report.

All other city-wide votes have resulted in a rejection of the ‘strong leader’ system.

Short BBC Radio Sheffield clip: Toby Foster’s show
Radio reports on the debate, and webcast from the Council chamber, here:

The People´s Petition continues collecting signatures, because some will not count (people not registered to vote, etc.) Please sign the petition before the final submission date, August 23rd:

It’s Our City Petition

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