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
Sheffield
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.

ACTIONS: 
  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.

ACTION:
  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

MPs
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 http://www.seedsforchange.org.uk/ 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 jobrierley1@gmail.com

Other key resources are: www.frack-off.org.uk and www.reclaimthepower.org.uk


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

CETA/TTIP
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.

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

Stalls - May 2017

We currently have limited capacity to support stalls. For Peace in the Park this year we can offer to support the Sheffield Climate Alliance stall if possible rather than have a FoE stall.

The gazebo and cow costume needs to be collected before Francois goes away in June if they are needed before he comes back in July.

Annual General Meeting - 2017

Our group's AGM was postponed from April due to the clash with the Easter holidays

John is stepping down as the group's co-ordinator after a busy and interesting year. The group agreed to split the role and responsibilities of the coordinator for 2017-2018. Shaun will be the email contact and will put together the agenda; other members will rotate responsibility for chairing meetings and taking notes.

At our next meeting on Monday 19th June David will hold the role of the chair and Liddy will take notes. Shaun will circulate the agenda a week before the meeting.

Our Treasurer reported that we have £1309.20 in accumulated funds and have spent £128.16 (on stalls, toner and Facebook ads). Income (from standing orders and donations) was £110.50. Liddy is happy to continue as Treasurer and this was agreed by the Group. The annual accounts can be found below:

Monday, 20 March 2017

Air Pollution Campaign Update - March 2017

Air Pollution Map
Richard has found a couple of useful local websites:

sheffieldeastend.org.uk this wasn't an easy site for me to navigate, but it has a lot of air pollution info.

care4air is the South Yorkshire clean air campaign. This seems to be run by the councils but it does have a lot of info and links.

On the council's digital map there seems to be a view that the city centre air quality is okay. Richard's analysis hasn't found this to be the case. Readings on Lady's Bridge, Arundel Gate near Crucible, Pond Street, Waingate, Leopold St, Fitzalan Sq were all high. There were no tubes on Fargate, Church St, High St, the crossing between Millennium Galleries and SHU on Arundel Gate, around Cumberland St/South St/ Eyre St. There are more gaps around the city centre and the wider city.

There has been a recent entry on the FoE map on Gell St near Springfield School in the city centre. The reading is high which backs up what I was saying.

Sheffield FoE tubes have not yet been entered on the FoE map. The tubes have a shelf life of eight weeks.


Air Pollution Day of Action:
Richard suggested passing on the media stunt ideas for the air pollution campaign to national Friends of the Earth. Shaun passed them on, along with a copy of the article from the Star where we were installing the diffusion tubes.

Festival of Debate 
Aaron has organised a talk for this spring's Festival of Debate. It is called "The Silent Killer: Air Pollution - Q&A" and will take place on Monday 22nd May - 18.00 - 19.30 at the Sheffield University Students' Union - Raynor Lounge. Anyone is welcome to attend.

Our expert panel including Greg Fell, Sheffield's Director of Public Health, Jane Thomas a former senior campaigner with Friends of the Earth UK, Natasha Askaroff (Healthy Planet) and Harriet Edwards (British Lung Foundation) 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. Come along and ask your questions about this invisible threat.

Sheffield Friends of the Earth will be contributing £90 for the cost of the venue.

Friends of the Earth Air Pollution Update
Momentum in the fight for clean air is growing. A recent YouGov poll for Friends of the Earth showed that nearly two thirds of adults in the UK are worried about air pollution. But surprisingly, it also revealed that just 1 in 10 think the air they breathe is dirty – despite most areas of the UK breaching EU pollution limits.

To improve awareness of the problem, we’ve launched our ‘Clean Air Kits’ - a ground-breaking citizen science project that enables people all over the country to discover what their local pollution levels are.

We’re delighted that so far over 2,000 individuals and 45 local groups have started measuring pollution near them. The results are plotted on our national air quality map and will inform a report presented to Ministers ahead of the Government’s final air quality plan this summer.

We're offering our local groups up to 10 free air monitoring tubes.

We're planning a week of action from 24 June - 2 July to heap the pressure on the government. Lots more info on how you can get involved soon!

Council Statement on Air Quality
Beatrice mentioned by email that the council's statement on air quality is:

"We want a city where our air quality is good, and where air pollution is reduced to a point well below the European Health Limit values. Despite our efforts to date, Sheffield is still in breach of EU
Air Quality Limit Values relating to Nitrogen Dioxide (NO₂) gas which should have been met by 1st January 2010. A key contributor is road traffic, in particular diesel vehicles, where engine technology is not performing as expected in urban areas like Sheffield. In terms of the standards set by the EU for fine Particulate Matter (PM10) dust pollution, all our monitoring stations are indicating that we are in compliance, although there is no safe limit for this pollutant. Our current approach is to encourage the take-up of low emission fuels and technologies which cause less pollution whilst making public transport, cycling and walking as attractive and easy as possible. Overall however, it is quite clear that air quality in Sheffield has not improved and this is a significant issue for the Council, one which impacts upon our citizens’ health and well-being and the City’s overall prosperity. As a result of a High Court Ruling on 21 November 2016, Government must produce a new National Air Quality Plan in draft by 24 April 2017 with a final version by 31 July 2017. Sheffield was not one of the areas originally identified by the Government as requiring a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) by 2020, but we are aware that a number of additional cities will be mandated to have a CAZ in the upcoming plan. Better air quality is vital for the long term sustainability, health and wellbeing of the city. We are ambitious to improve air quality in Sheffield and are keen to explore a range of measures to improve air quality across the city. "

Budget
This is what the recent budget said about air pollution so hopefully changes will be made later in the year:

"5.11 Air quality “The government is committed to improving air quality, and will consult on a detailed draft plan in the spring which will set out how the UK's air quality goals will be achieved. Alongside this, the government will continue to explore the appropriate tax treatment for diesel vehicles, and will engage with stakeholders ahead of making any tax changes at Autumn Budget 2017."

Habitats Campaign Update - March 2017

Smithy Wood
There was a demonstration about the proposal to build a motorway service station at Smithy Wood. See the BBC article here. The Sheffield Star reported that there are plans to build a rival motorway service station near the M1/parkway junction. See article here.



Rotherham Waste Site
We were contacted by a resident living in Kimberworth, Rotherham where the Environment Agency have granted  a variation to a permit that is allowing a local operator to deposit 205,000  tons of waste per year. The site is surrounded by an Ancient Woodland which  will be subject to damage because of this action. There has been a large public outcry and Rotherham Borough Council are involved. The only issue that  has not been discussed so far is the environmental impact of this action. David agreed to contact pass on this information to wildlife and woodland groups to see if they could help.

Renewable Energy Campaign Update - March 2017

It was mentioned at a previous meeting that Sheffield Climate Alliance (SCA) have secured a space in the Sheffield Telegraph to write a "Big Challenge" article each week for a year. SCA invited Sheffield Friends of the Earth to contribute an article so Shaun agreed to write a piece on storage options for renewable energy. The article submitted is as follows:

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.


Fracking Campaign Update - March 2017

Stannington
We have heard a rumour of landowners in the Stannington area of Sheffield being approached by Ineos - presumably for seismic testing or even drilling. Stannington is in Ineos' PEDL301 - their licence stipulates a work programme in which a well of 3500 metres depth has to be drilled by July 2021. If anyone hears anything please let us know and we'll pass on the message to Sheffield Against Fracking and Frack free South Yorkshire.


NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plan - March 2017

Aaron has been to a public meeting regarding the NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plan. The basic message is that environmental sustainability and how it affects our health is not addressed.

You can download the plan here and the link to the CCG Sustainability and Transformation Plan survey is here.



Stalls Update - March 2017

Beighton 
There is a stall on Saturday 8th July. Richard and Shaun were planning to do it but it is down to Shaun now. Is anyone else free to help? It only has to be for an hour or two.