Meeting Notes - March 2021

Notes from Sheffield FoE Local Group meeting -  15th March 2021 by Zoom

Attendees: Lindy S (chair) Richard S, Liddy G, Anya, Camilla Z, Duncan, Elaine H, Kath, Corinne A, Geoff C, Helen F, Ian C, Rich T, Rob N, Ryan M, Sean A, Trevor B, Claire B, Saleema I, David G.

Business meeting: Lindy S (chair) Richard S, Liddy G, Sean A, Dawn, Rob N, Graham T, Helen F, Duncan, Claire B.

Apologies: Sue S, Shaun R

Presentation on Community Forestry

Speaker: Catherine Nuttgens, SCC Community Forestry Manager (

20 people attended to hear the presentation and Catherine gave an extremely informative talk on Community Forestry in Sheffield, starting from our woodland heritage and the early industries associated with woodland from early iron smelting (evidence from 2500 years ago at Wincobank hill fort) to 1928 when the Ecclesall Woods were opened to the public. She shared some comparative data from the 2017 survey which estimated Sheffield has 4.5 million trees (with a high proportion of broadleaf woodlands). She explained the roles of the different staff in the Trees and Woodlands team including the tree officers, woodland officers, community officers and rangers and covered some of the main threats from pests and diseases, including Ash Dieback. She also highlighted the threat to trees from climate change and a great infographic illustrative of all the benefits of trees before sharing practical information on principles for tree planting and related impacts. There was a diverse range of questions for Catherine and specific future plans and priorities were discussed.


Simple Steps to Combat Climate Change online event 27th Feb 2021: Helen, Lindy and Duncan provided feedback. This joint event with Rotherham Climate Action was very successful.  Nearly 90 people and the feedback was very good.  Lindy has already been asked by her local library to run a version of the event for them and they intend to run it again next year.  A write up of the event, a link to a video of the presentations and the pdf guide are all on the Sheffield FoE website. 

Sheffield Renewables AGM feedback Claire attended this on behalf of the group - they now have 251 members (including Sheffield FoE). The company has a significant sum which they are trying to invest but it has been a difficult year for finding sites and projects for investment. However, hopefully, a significant project (commercially sensitive so not detailed) will soon emerge. At the AGM an overseas investment and a charitable contribution to the South Yorkshire Energy Centre were voted on and agreed. 

Owlthorpe Fields update: Claire reported back on the huge disappointment of the planning inspectorate review coming out in favour of the development (against the council’s decision). OAG are reviewing their options but currently crowdfunding for a statutory review and have raised £5000 to fund a legal opinion.  It was noted how exemplary the campaign against development was and how this has influenced other groups’ campaigning – Helen suggested asking national FoE staff who ran the planning course about support for the review process.  The lack of a Sheffield Local Plan since 1998 when the land was originally allocated for housing had also stymied the appeal. OAG have had coverage on local radio and Avant Homes have responded to insist they plan to start building in the summer.

Nature Recovery: Sheffield: Following the work we did on the petition to Sheffield City Council calling on them to declare an ecological emergency, Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust reached out to ask us to be part of a group looking at ways of taking nature recovery seriously.  An initial meeting was attended by Lindy on behalf of FoE, and representatives from Greenpeace, Sheffield Green Parents, OAG, CofE Diocesan officer and SCA.  The intention is to join up more of the campaigning and promote ‘buy in’ from our constituent group.  A Festival of Debate event is also planned. 

CEE Twitter storm March 26th  Following up the speaker at our February meeting, details of the event on March 26th have been circulated. This should have been a day when the bill was debated in the House of Commons but has again been postponed by Covid regulations. 

FoE report - An Emergency Action Plan for Young People: This thorough and well received report has recently been published by national FoE.  We agreed that this  report (and other FoE reports) are very well written and worth sharing and  promoting wherever we can. 

Sheffield Council’s ‘Pathways to Net Zero report: This is a consultancy report from Arup on the range of necessary actions necessary to reach net zero carbon by 2030.  It was commissioned by the council but it has not yet been published or led to specific commitments from the council yet. However, the launch date is now set for Friday 19th march. Richard and others are attending the meeting . Lindy offered to share the draft report she has as final version not yet shared with attendees.  Robert N commented that there is limited action on climate emergency related policies in Doncaster but as in Sheffield progress with the council is slow. There generally seems to be a lack of political engagement, and possibly concern within Labour that they may lose control of the council with unpopular policy choices which makes it difficult for officers to be proactive. Lindy also shared to the link for “The path to Net Zero: Event series”  which includes one on LA Action

Local Council elections hustings – We are working with SCA partner organisations to plan six hustings, one in each of the Sheffield constituencies with a focus on environmental issues (broadly defined). Attendees will be asked to submit questions in advance to ensure a range of issues are covered with a maximum of 90 minutes. All members are urged to promote (& attend) to show strength of ‘climate lobby’ in Sheffield. 

Lottery Climate Action Fund– Richard updated on the evolving plans and groups involved. Sheffield FoE and Clean Air Sheffield have both been allocated £1000 that we can invoice for on the basis of bid preparation time and use for Climate Action projects. Graham T discussed some of his network’s plans including projects developing the use of air monitoring.

It was agreed to delay discussion of any suggestions for the SCA’s bid for the main £2.5m funding bid until the next meeting. Ideas for project for the Action Fund could include: 

  • Community-based activities events or activities (in your own space or someone else’s) Events, activities or workshops at a Sheffield city centre physical hub 
  • Online events, activities or workshops for the digital hub 
  • Own / others’ local stories of success for digital and physical hub 
  • Snappy ‘How To’s (how to reduce emissions!) for digital and physical hub 
  • Point us to essential, succinct climate info for use in digital and physical hub

Business items/to note

Supporters: The recent petition has resulted in a significant boost to the numbers signed up to the database which now stands at 321. 

Social Media: we continue to be active on both Facebook and Twitter and followers continue to grow: Facebook (586) and Twitter (543) 

Next Local Group Meeting – 7:30pm on 19th April 2021 – meeting on Zoom AGM and plans for year ahead (no speaker)