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Agenda item

Public Questions and Petitions

To receive any questions or petitions from members of the public



The Committee received questions from members of the public, and responses were provided as follows:-




Jenny Carpenter 




As a member of South Yorkshire Climate Alliance, I am anxious to find out how successful the Council has been in rolling out Carbon Literacy Training to its Members and officers.  The rapid reduction in carbon emissions that we need will only be achieved if each contemplated decision is taken with this as a priority.




I wish to put the question " Have all the Members of this Committee undergone Carbon Literacy training?


If not, will they do so as soon as possible to equip them better to serve in this capacity?


What steps are being taken to offer such training to all members and senior officers?"




In response, the Chair reported that online training on carbon literacy had been offered to all Council Members, and that refresher training would be offered on an annual basis. He added that a carbon literacy event had recently been organised for all Council employees.




Councillor Chris Rosling-Josephs reported that carbon literacy training had recently been provided by the South Yorkshire Pensions Authority for all its members.




Councillor Douglas Johnson reported that a carbon literacy training event had recently been held for all senior Council officers, at which around 120 had attended, and that the feedback in respect of the event had been very positive.




Councillor Dianne Hirst reported that any Council Members who had not been able to access the online training were able to view the material on the Members’ online portal.




The Chair stated that the questions would be referred to Mark Whitworth (Sustainability and Climate Change Service Manager), with a request that he provides a detailed, written response to Mrs Carpenter, to include details of the content of the online training.




Anne Ashe




I’m involved with South Yorkshire Climate Alliance, which very much wants to see climate issues embedded fully in the Sheffield Local Plan: my question encompasses this topic.




I’d like to ask whether there has been any assessment of the contribution that each spatial option would make towards tackling climate change through:




(i)       supporting the Council’s 2030 net-zero carbon target - eg using sustainable design;


(ii)       maintaining a net-zero situation after 2030 (and beyond the Local Plan horizon of 2039);


(iii)      facilitating renewable energy provision;


(iv)      enabling sustainable travel patterns;


(v)      reducing the impact of climate change and tackling its impact - eg maintaining a green cover to counter the urban heat island effect that is associated with rising temperatures (especially in the core urban area), protecting against extreme weather events, and ensuring a reduction in flood risk; and


(vi)      enhancing Sheffield’s ecological status and achieving net biodiversity gain.  




Related to this is the question of whether such assessments would form part of the site selection process for determining allocated sites once the spatial option has been chosen.




I agree with the Council’s sequential approach for determining site allocations as set out in this useful paper and understand the difficulty of achieving the Government’s revised and uplifted housing target for Sheffield.  Has any assessment has been done on the option of increasing net densities so as to reduce the amount of land needed (so making the targets more achievable)?  In terms of climate issues, this would have the advantage of supporting the development of walkable neighbourhoods, as advised in the (new) Essex Design Guide




In response, Simon Vincent (Local Plan Service Manager) stated that the Local Plan would play an important role in reducing carbon emissions and responding to the climate emergency.  The Local Plan could tackle such issues in two main ways, firstly regarding the spatial pattern of development, which related to where and how such development would take place. The second element would focus on sustainable design, and the option chosen today would be subject to policies around this, and which would be incorporated into the new Local Plan.  The issues raised would be addressed through the site selection process.  The Council would also be undertaking an Integrated Impact Assessment, which would look at the environment, equality and health impacts of the different development sites being proposed.  In terms of density, all the five options in the report contained proposals with regard to intensification of development within the central area, though high densities were not appropriate everywhere, and consideration had to be given to the historic character of the area and the need to provide a mix of housing types.  The new Local Plan would look to raise overall densities in other areas of the city, for example near District Centres and other locations with excellent accessibility by public transport.  The Council would also consider the biodiversity of specific areas as part of the site selection process.




The Chair requested that Mr Vincent sends a detailed, written response to Ms Ashe.