Agenda item

Draft 10-Point Plan for Climate Change Action

Report of the Executive Director, Place


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The Committee received a report of the Head of Strategic Transport, Sustainability and Infrastructure, Place, containing a draft 10- Point Plan for Climate Change Action. The draft Plan, which had been requested by the Committee at its last meeting held on 7th October 2021, set out a framework for the Council’s approach to acting on climate change, together with committed high level and specific actions that were identified as priorities over the short-term. The report also set out details regarding the next steps in the process.




The report was supported by a presentation by Mark Whitworth (Sustainability and Climate Change Service Manager) and Tom Finnegan-Smith (Head of Strategic Transport, Sustainability and Infrastructure).




Also in attendance for this item were Mick Crofts (Executive Director, Place) and Victoria Penman (Sustainability Programme Officer).




Mark Whitworth reported on the response to suggestions of the Committee raised at its meeting held on 7th October 2021, the proposed structure of the draft Plan, the transformation of priorities and actions and enabling priorities. Tom Finnegan- Smith provided further detail on the transport strategy element of the Plan.




Members of the Committee raised questions and the following responses were provided:-




·                It was noted that a significant proportion of the greenhouse gas emissions in the food sector involved the transportation of food. There was a commitment to develop a plan which focused specifically on food, as well as a plan for decarbonising transport in the city, including freight. Every effort needed to be made to ensure that local food supplies came from sustainable sources, and work was required to look at the supply chains. As part of the Plan, the Council wished to look at how more food consumed in the city could be generated locally in order to reduce emission levels created by food transportation. Work had been undertaken a few years ago, as part of the Heart of the City project, looking at cleaner methods of transporting food into the city, such as the use of the canal or by creating a consolidation centre near the motorway. There was a big opportunity for the Council to work with its partners, such as Sheffield Hallam University, with regard to looking at modern food growing techniques. The Council needed to work with ShefFood, and other similar networks in the city, to support them and help them develop further. Many of the problems were caused simply by people’s decisions, such as where they purchased their food from, and how wasteful they were in terms of throwing food away, and work was required to try and encourage people to make such informed choices




·                Veolia still operated two electric refuse collection vehicles which were used to support general duties by completing extra or missed collections.




·                With regard to housing, and specifically the options available to people, the Council would need to try and offer some clarity to the public in terms of the different forms of the technology available to them, and signpost people to where they could get correct information and advice, to enable them to make informed choices.




·                Details of those areas where the Council aimed to make a difference were set out in the plan including, for example, the decarbonisation of transport and businesses. The further work would require the Council to work closely with businesses and other organisations to discuss the various changes they may need to consider.




·                There was currently some funding in place for small businesses to help them to decarbonise, such as upgrading their systems and features, such as lighting and roller shutters. Information on this was made available through Business Sheffield. The Council was currently in discussion with the Chamber of Commerce and the Sheffield Sustainability Network around the work they were undertaking, and to discuss how the Council could work with both organisations to try and maximise the uptake of the available grants. The Council was also looking at how it could support local businesses to access the funding made available through various Government programmes, such as the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund. The Council was also working with the University of Sheffield in connection with the development of a South Yorkshire Sustainability Centre, with the aim of linking research, innovation and academic skills with sustainability-related challenges and opportunities in the city and wider region. It was acknowledged that there were many small businesses who did not have the staff or time to find out about the various grants and initiatives available, and this was something the Council could look at. Officers would provide an update in terms of grants and information on various initiatives and schemes available to small businesses, through the Local Area Committees.




·                The nature of the Plan reflected the high levels of cultural changes and institutional learning that would be required to make progress on this agenda. Officers would look at how people could be motivated in terms of taking action and to volunteer. The relevant pages on the Council website would be updated to provide information which would enable people to act. The questions asked today would receive responses and these would be published. It was important to allow people the opportunity to provide comments and suggestions, and the ways of doing this would be explored, as well as helping to signpost people to places where they can find information. Whilst the Plan set out a number of requirements the Council could undertake during the next two years, it was not a comprehensive, detailed programme of the outcomes. Officers were meeting with colleagues in the Human Resource’s leadership team to discuss the issue of training and how the plans could be rolled out across the Council.




·                There would be an Equality Impact Assessment undertaken in respect of the Plan. The specific detail regarding equality issues would be considered as part of the individual delivery plans as and when they emerged.




·                There would be further work undertaken with regard to communications and engagement, which include updating the Council website. Specific work was required in terms of messaging, in that different messaging worked for different people. Further work was also required in connection with trying to encourage people to change their behaviour and adapt to the changes that are coming.




·                Carbon reductions from the transport sector had been lower than in other areas, as has been the case across the country. Reducing transport emissions requires the public to take conscious and daily decisions to change the way that they travel, as well as huge investment in transport infrastructure. There had been a legal requirement to take action on air quality in the shortest possible timescale, hence the implementation of the Clean Air Zone. In addition to this, however, further work was required in the longer-term to try and influence people to make changes and encourage them to use public transport, as well as walking or cycling when possible to improve air quality, as well as to reduce carbon emissions from transport. The Government had recently granted £570m for transport improvements in South Yorkshire, which would enable the Council to roll out measures under the Connecting Sheffield programme, directly aimed at sustainable modes of transport




Mark Whitworth continued the presentation, reporting on the potential roles for this Committee as part of the Plan, the implications of a transition zero economy for workers and delivering the retrofitting of homes equitably.




RESOLVED: That the Committee:-




(a)      notes the contents of the report now submitted, the information reported as part of the presentation and the responses to the questions raised;




(b)      thanks Mick Crofts, Tom Finnegan-Smith, Victoria Penman and Mark Whitworth for attending the meeting and responding to the questions raised; and




(c)      agrees that it should focus on the decarbonisation of housing in the city, and requests officers to submit a report setting out possible actions and interventions for consideration at a future meeting.





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