Thursday, 13 July 2017

July Meeting

Please note that July's meeting will take place at 7.30pm instead of 8pm.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Air Pollution Campaign Update - June 2017

Air Pollution Tubes and additional opportunities for local monitoring
Beatrice has confirmed that she put up the second batch of air pollution monitoring tubes and the results should appear on the FoE national map. Richard reported on an experiment using a monitoring device for particulate air pollution (PM2.5) at rush hour and for people walking, cycling and using a car on the same route.

Day of Action on Sat 24 June
The main aim is to raise awareness and ensure politicians will support policy to implement air quality zones locally. Individual packs have been sent to Shaun and Richard and group information is expected this week to support a media stunt and appropriate press releases etc. Richard and Shaun are available but we need more people to help out and Sheffield Climate Alliance can be asked at tomorrow’s meeting. There is a media training event the same day and that also might be an opportunity for a media stunt. The pack containing the FoE resources should arrive between Mon and Wed.

An email from Annie O’Gara raised the issue of air pollution near a proposed site for a school in S7 and she came to the meeting to explain the local concerns about the environmental impact from both increases in air pollution and from previous use as a landfill site. We agreed to keep in touch, particularly in relation to the air pollution campaign.

Shaun has sent relevant information to Esther Knowles about the campaign as she expressed an interest in the campaign. If you'd like to get involved in the air pollution campaign then please get in touch.

Festival of Debate Report

The festival of Debate event was well attended by about 30 people and the speakers were excellent. It was agreed that it was well chaired and there was some good discussion. It was also well covered by local media and potentially in future we could do more media work. A small charge (or a deposit refunded at the event) might have ensured that more registered people actually attended. Alternatively we could ask for donations to cover the cost of the venue.

Jack Scott expressed interest in council representation at the meeting but this would have been difficult pre-General Election for both FoE and the Students' Union. It would not be possible to have a politician as an invited speaker if the other parties were not represented as both organisations need to be seen to be non-party political. It was suggested that a meeting could be arranged with Jack Scott and the Air Quality Officer as a follow up to discuss the air pollution strategy.

Food Campaign Update - June 2017

Richard and Liddy reported back on the Sheffield Food Festival event in the Winter Gardens. We put a number of the FoE food booklets on display.

Fracking Campaign Update - June 2017

During DocFest a showing of “The Bently Effect” attended by the director had 50 attendees. Aaron is attending the Media Training Day organised by Seeds for Change on Saturday. Richard reported on a number of planned activities including Sheffield Against Fracking and “Are you being Fracked” stalls and events. More details can be found on the Frack Free South Yorkshire webpage.

BaseCamp - June 2017

Basecamp is Friends of the Earth's annual get-together/conference. Aaron, Richard and David all attended this event at Castleton and gave very positive feedback. There were fracking and air pollution workshops and also football and great food from the Real Junk Food Project. There was a talk by the author of Doughnut Economics, Hahri Han gave a talk on what was needed including motivated group members and suggested that there are organisers and motivators and both are needed – it was agreed this is relevant to thinking about our own activities. There would be potential next year to go as a group and offer to organise an event. If you'd like to find out more about Hahri's talk then see the link here.

Stalls - June 2017

Banner Cross had an event but no one was available to do a stall. There are also events coming up where we could support other groups and take FoE materials/leaflets etc: Sharrow Festival on Sat 1 July and the Beighton Festival on Sat 8 July. There is also the Sheffield Vegan Beer Festival coming up Sat 29 July and a Low Edges festival on Sat 13 Aug.

Requests for information – Beatrice has been helping a journalism student interested in fracking and someone who wanted environment-related posters for a funeral

Other Business - June 2017

David Thomas came to talk about the Selfie Centre (near ZEST in Upperthorpe) which is available for events for up to 40 people.

We have been invited to The Circle 10th Birthday event from 16:30 to 19:00 on Wednesday 21 June. This may be a networking opportunity if anyone wants to turn up to represent FoE.

Friday, 19 May 2017

The Silent Killer: Air Pollution - Q&A - Festival of Debate Spring 2017

Sheffield Friends of the Earth has organised a public talk called The Silent Killer: Air Pollution - Q&A for this spring's Festival of Debate.

An expert panel will be discussing the health risks of air pollution, which is estimated to lead to the premature deaths of 500 people in Sheffield every year, and calculated to cause £160 million in lost working days in the city due to illness.

The expert panel includes:
Everyone is welcome to attend this free event so please come along and ask your questions about this invisible threat. You must book a ticket via the link here.

The talk will take place on Monday 22nd May from 18.00 - 19.30 in the Raynor Lounge (Level 1) at the University of Sheffield Students' Union. The full address is:

University of Sheffield Students' Union
Raynor Lounge (Level 1)
Western Bank
S10 2TG

To find the Students' Union and transport options see the link here
To view floor plans inside the Student's Union see the link here

Useful Resources and Links

Monday, 15 May 2017

Air pollution Update - May 2017

The original 5 diffusion tubes we installed around the city centre were lost in the post when sending them back to Friends of the Earth. We will put another set of monitoring tubes in highly polluted areas of the city as previously suggested.

Our Festival of Debate Silent Killer Air Pollution Debate still has space for 50 people.

  1. Shaun will provide list of identified sites (from Richard's work) and Beatrice will install the tubes on Thursday.
  2. Shaun will register our interest in the Friends of the Earth Day of Action which takes place on Sat Jun 24 or Sat 1 July (we decide the date). Please get in touch if you'd like to get involve
  3. John to ask SCA to send advert/reminder of the Festival of Debate event to their mailing lists
  4. David to collect leaflets for a stall before the event; also plan an article to report after the event.

Food Campaign - May 2017

There is an opportunity to contribute to a Sheffield Food Festival event in the Winter Gardens on the late May Bank Holiday weekend.

  1. John to contact Gareth Rogers to express interest in 2 hour slot for discussion/workshop 4-6pm on 29 May (Bank Holiday Monday).  Other members to also provide leaflets and materials to use for the event.

Fracking - May 2017

John’s MP (Natasha Engels, NE Derbyshire/Labour and Deputy Speaker) is apparently personally in favour of fracking.  There are active fracking plans in several areas and so public consultations are underway and there may be opportunities to lobby current MPs and candidates between now and the election as well as opportunities for raising public awareness.

Fracking Media Training
Training has been developed for people who are opposed to Unconventional Gas exploration & extraction (Fracking) and who wish to improve their abilities to engage with the mainstream media.

This is the basic content for the day:
  1. Know 10 different ways to interact with the media.
  2. Know what research to do before dealing with the media (research about the media not about fracking).
Key messages.
  1. Be able to create excellent soundbites.
  2. Have practise being interviewed by a supportive journalist.
  3. Have practise being interviewed by a challenging journalist.
  4. Be able to bridge to a point you want to make.
  5. Know how to write a good news release.
The event is run by Seeds for Change helping us to Skill up, co-operate and take action.

The training is free, the room probably will not be, so a small donation is asked for.  I'm expecting no more than a couple of pounds each. However, do not let an empty purse put you off (time rich people are vital and VERY welcome), come anyway and I'll feed you fine tea and biscuits too.

The idea is to encourage every local group to have at least two identified Media Reps, fully trained up, with their own network of journalists etc: ready to get the word out to the right people at the right time. This workshop is designed specifically to give you some of the skills and the confidence to use them.

This workshop is open to anyone, whatever level of skills / knowledge you have at present. You do not need to be part of a group to attend.

Please bring lunch/ snacks for the day. There will be teas/coffee provided.

To book please contact Jo Brierley on the Facebook event or phone/text me on 0777 609 1439 or

Other key resources are: and

Energy Storage - May 2017

Energy Storage

Shaun's article about storing renewable electricity was published in the Sheffield Telegraph on Thursday 13 April 2017. The full text of it is here:

Critics of renewable energy suggest we’ll struggle to power the country because there are times when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining. However, a recent report by Friends of the Earth suggests that the majority of our electricity supply could run on renewables with the right mix of energy storage and smart technologies. Not only is this good for the environment, but it will create employment opportunities for people living in South Yorkshire’s cities.

Water is similar to renewable electricity because it is also intermittent. There are days, and even weeks, when the umbrellas can be put away, but everyone remembers the torrential downpours. The intermittency challenge for water was solved by storing it at different scales from water butts to giant reservoirs, thus allowing the taps to be turned on regardless of the weather.

The water butt storage equivalent for a solar home is to install a battery pack similar to Tesla’s Powerwall. The surplus electricity is stored for use when the clouds pass over during the day and at night when the sun has set. The battery would soon be exhausted if there were a number of consecutive cloudy days, but they could be topped up when there is excess wind power. Clearly it won’t allow homes in this country to be completely self-sufficient so other solutions will need adding to the storage portfolio.

Continuing with the water analogy, there are a number of technologies which could be classed as small dams. These include compressed air, flywheels, pumped hydro and large batteries. Typically they can help the national grid at peak times, but on their own they won’t solve the intermittency issue.

The large scale storage options, equivalent to big reservoirs, include Power to Gas. The basic idea is to run electrolysers whenever there is an oversupply of renewable electricity. These devices split water into its component parts of hydrogen and oxygen.

The hydrogen can be used to fuel hydrogen vehicles, which in principle could be plugged into homes to act as a power station on wheels. Another option is to store the hydrogen in storage tanks which can be converted back to electricity using a fuel cell when required. In some cases it can even be injected directly into the gas network. Because hydrogen can be difficult to store, it is often easier to mix it with other gasses to produce a green gas.

Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a process which allows organic waste (for example, food, manure, sewage and grass) to rot down. The end result is a liquid fertiliser and a number of gasses including methane and carbon dioxide. The methane is normally cleaned up and burnt to generate electricity. However, it would probably be better to pump the methane into the national gas network where it can be used to generate electricity or to heat homes when there isn’t a lot of renewable energy.  The carbon dioxide extracted from the AD process can be mixed with the hydrogen to produce more methane. Again this could be pumped into the gas network for use at a later time.

As the gasses have come from waste plant sources rather than digging up fossil fuels, the process can be considered carbon neutral and isn’t a threat to the planet’s climate.

The first stage of the renewable journey has been to install and demonstrate that renewables work. The big challenge for the second leg of the journey is to ramp up the UK’s renewable capacity along with storage and smart technologies. This will allow us to keep the lights on regardless of the weather, fight climate change and create jobs.

Smithy Wood Campaign - May 2017

The planning decision has still not made. The Woodland Trust is likely to take to appeal if development is agreed and we will support.

Other Campaigns - May 2017

There is nothing to report in terms of action at present; CETA may still be agreed before Brexit so may still affect the UK.

University of Sheffield
Robert Burke (University of Sheffield) has offered to support collaboration with UoS over campaigns including Food Campaign.

  1. John to invite him to a Local Group meeting to discuss.