August 2020 Meeting Notes

Sheffield Friends of the Earth Local Group Meeting
Notes from meeting (via Zoom) on 17 August 2020

Attendees: Lindy S (chair), Shaun A, Shaun R, Liddy G, Richard S, June B, Beatrice G, Chris B, Saleema I.

Apologies: Helen F

a) Positive news
  • SCA Lottery funding bid for Sheffield plans confirmed
  • RSPB policy becoming more environmentally orientated
  • noticing more flourishing plans and greenery, more cycle lane infrastructure in B’ham; UPS ordering electric vans; more sustainable energy generation; deer in Parkwood Springs; trends that include more bike ownership/cycling post-lockdown
  • all quiet on the anti-fracking front and shale/oil drilling going/gone
  • lots of interest in Green New Deal
  • Australia using their solar resources (at last!)
b) Tree Campaign update
  • Lindy shared Greta Thunberg’s short video YouTube campaigning video “Protect, Restore, Fund
  • Doubling Tree Cover in UK & local initiatives. England Tree Strategy is out for consultation and Lindy is responding to their specific questions.
  • ”Kids Plant Trees” is part of group Richard has worked with and we could potentially work with them (Anne Parkin). We have previously had trees to plant from Woodland Trust and we have useful contacts (Heather Hunt) and will plan to coordinate with other groups with tree planting programmes which may restart later in the year.
  • There was a recent call from Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust for volunteer street tree wardens (role includes training and a commitment to about 30 hours a year) which is another opportunity to make a local contribution.
c) Build Back Better
  • Sheffield City Region: Chris, Helen Francis, Geoff Cox and colleagues were involved in meeting with two consultants from Urban Foresight who are advising Sheffield City Region on their programme on actions for their Climate Emergency Response post-Covid. There is a challenge to us in working with Sheffield City Region to ensure their plans are really appropriate, not just as defined by national policies focused on technological solutions and translates into green jobs and a low carbon economy. Richard has a meeting with Felix Kumi-Ampofo, SCR economist, to discuss relevance of doughnut economics to influence the local recovery plan. Dominic Swords also to attend.
  • Green New Deal UK: This is a non-political coalition which in Sheffield has links with unions and has shared interests and membership with the other umbrella organisations and coalitions but has a clear focus on campaigning for policy action.
  • Meeting with Olivia Blake: We discussed how to best use this meeting to discuss the five elements of the FoE strategy and identify areas where she can influence as an opposition MP on Parliamentary committees and also locally with Sheffield City Council and City Region. We also discussed opportunities to engage with the other Sheffield MPs and Lindy will also contact Gill Furniss (Brightside and Hillsborough).
d) Upcoming actions & local plans for the future:
  • Sheffield Station Taxi Rank has come out as the 2nd most polluted in the UK Lindy has written to the council on behalf of the group.
  • There is a need to directly try and influence Sheffield City Council on air pollution and similar issues where the strategies have not been translated into effective actions. Richard suggested a small direct action, for example at Sheffield station taxi rank and we will plan something for September after the date of the meeting to allow some time to plan and advertise. Target date Weds 23rd September pm.
  • Lindy has been using Twitter and Facebook to share information and we have a large number of followers and known numbers of views/shares but not everyone does get the information via social media. Every urged to ‘like’ and ‘share’ if they see posts.
  • XR are organising Climate Emergency actions around the city on 28th August and over bank holiday weekend, a focus on disinvesting in fossil fuels and including Pond Forge banner drop and FoE has been invited to participate. Richard & June to do this.
e) Date of next meeting: 7:30pm 21 September 2020 by Zoom.


Picture Credit: Pixabay.com