Four years since Sheffield City Council declared a Climate Emergency. How far have we got?

At the Full Council meeting on 20th February South Yorkshire Climate Alliance gathered supporters of groups such as Extinction Rebellion. 5 Rivers Rising Samba Band, Greenpeace, the Trades Council, Nature Recovery Sheffield, the Green Party and Climate Vigil to mark the 4 years that have passed since Sheffield declared a Climate Emergency. The theme of the rally was “Drowning in Promises”. We have heard so many promises from the Council in the last 4 years, yet there has been so little action. XR emphasised that with their lifejackets. Click here to see what happened 4 years ago. when I handed in the petition to the Council.

Here is a video of the rally outside the Town Hall, including speakers from Labour and the Greens. It was significant that nobody turned up to speak for the Lib Dems, even though they had been invited well in advance. Other speakers were from Greenpeace, Nature Recovery Sheffield and the Trades Council.

Here is a video of Geoff Cox, Chair of South Yorkshire Climate Alliance, handing in the petition and the reply from Cllr Mazher Iqbal (Labour).

In my view the Green Party Councillors have been trying to hard to introduce measures to start to get us to Net Zero. The Workplace Parking Levy is a good example of this. But Lib Dem and Labour Councillors are continuously watering down or rejecting the proposals and sometimes even spread misinformation about them to get the electorate on their side. So now we are seeing the rise of right-wing conspiracy theories. Here is a quote from a letter in today’s Star.

“The Council is implementing a scheme that will not stop but instead moves ever onwards, starting with Clean Air Zones, moving towards ultra low emission zones, then low traffic neighbourhoods and eventually fifteen minute neighbourhoods and the abolition of private car ownership. All this is fact and is written in black white.”

Of course the author does not mention his sources. It is worrying that the great idea of fifteen minute neighbourhoods is being hijacked by these Trumpian conspiracy theorists, who make it sound as if people will be prevented from travelling more than 15 minutes from home. Actually a 15-minute neighbourhood involves a menu of policy actions that provide residents access to most, if not all, of their needs within a short walk or bike ride from their home. They are about preventing the need to travel, so that all the services you need, schools, doctors, green space, shops etc are close at hand. To get to Net Zero we do have to reduce our car use, so we need massive investment in public transport, with public control of our buses and trams.

We must not let these right wingers take control of the agenda. If you are concerned about the climate emergency, please get active. Write letters to the press, write to your Councillors in support of measures they want to take to tackle the climate crisis, write to your MP to move it up the political agenda, and join us outside Parliament for the Big One to demand change from our Government.

Photos from Steph XR

XR lifejackets
5 Rivers Rising Smaba Band
Mike Tomson, South Yorkshire Climate Alliance
Richard Teasdale (Greenpeace) and Sawn Spiers (Nature Recovery Sheffield)

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