Notes from Sheffield FoE Local Group meeting - 14th June 2021 by Zoom
Attendees: Lindy S (chair), Shaun R, Duncan F, Liddy G, Claire B, Vanessa S
Apologies: Sarah S, Richard S, Helen F,
1) Declaration of a Nature Emergency: Lindy reported on the success of the initiative by Nature Recovery Sheffield (of which FoE are part) to have a ‘mass declaration’ of a nature emergency in Sheffield by individuals, groups and organisations. This took place on May 21st and had over 1000 sign ups which was considered a great success. The campaign was enhanced by widespread coverage in the local papers and extensive social media coverage. It also coincided with the week that Sheffield City Council went in to a Labour/Green alliance administration and the Labour Leader of the Council and Green Exec member for Sustainable Neighbourhoods, Wellbeing, Parks and Leisure issued a joint statement supporting the call. With the local LibDem leader also tweeting his support, it seems likely that a successful motion will be passed at the first full meeting of the new council on June 16th (Weds this week). This will be a very successful outcome from the petition we ran in January.
2) Community Planning Alliance: Claire reported on her involvement in the setting up of a national network of mutual support for groups fighting planning decisions which have significant detrimental impacts on the natural world. This emerged from the intense campaigning undertaken by the Owlthorpe Fields Action group who had a very steep learning curve on their (so far unsuccessful) campaign to save Owlthorpe Fields from development. Claire & colleagues had developed an expertise which others had heard about and sought out which led to a UK wide planning group, an interactive map, a fledgling website, a Twitter account and a very active Facebook group. The CPRE have linked in to the group but its main focus is to share expertise about how to fight planning applications which damage nature.
3) Great Big Green Week: The Climate Coalition nationally are promoting a Big Green Week Sept 18th – 26th . Lindy has made the suggestion to SCA that we try to bring as many ‘green’ groups and activities into the centre of Sheffield for one of the days in that week (there are two weekends) to celebrate the opportunity to campaign in the open again, to share the strength of the movement locally and to promote the local ‘Can Do’ project of public engagement with climate change issues and raise awareness of the Cop26 in November. Our suggestion is that every group can have their own focus (Clean Air, Nature Recovery, Green Jobs etc) but be asked to have links to these two ideas. Vanessa (co chair of SCA) was very supportive of the idea and will work to take forward. Lindy has offered to co-ordinate
4) Future meetings: The in-person/Zoom mix was discussed & it was felt a more modern mix might be arrived at with regular meetings (particularly in winter months) continuing to be online with a programme of social events/campaigning/outdoor meetings being arranged alongside. To this end it was agreed by those present that it would be nice to have the July meeting in the city centre, starting with a café meet 5pm-ish, then a walk around the city centre with a focus on the developments to make the city centre a greener, pleasanter place (hopefully with a council guide) and finishing in a bar/pub. People could join in with any part of this event. Shaun also suggested that we could develop either this meeting or a similar one at a different time to take photographs of good/bad aspects of the city centre from our point of view. Lindy to check out the feasibility of this walkabout session with members unable to attend this meeting.
5) Next Local Group Meeting – Monday July 19th (see above!)