Meeting Notes - March 2022

 Notes from Sheffield FoE Local Group meeting -  21st March 2022 by Zoom

Attendees: Lindy S (chair), Shaun R, Nick J, Richard S, Greg H, Claire B, Julie W

Apologies: Helen F, Duncan F, Liddy G

Matters arising from February meeting

How to Finish with Fast Fashion: Event went well, lots of energy.  Izzy and Helen led it brilliantly and there was lots of ‘chat’.  About 20 attended and subsequently 20 views on YouTube.  Video link & resources on Sheffield FoE website.

Festival of Debate – SCA Climate/Environment Day is being held April 23rd in the Millennium Galleries, though planning is proving tricky.

Mayoral Hustings – Monday April 25th online.  Only Labour and Green candidates have confirmed.  Trying to get confirmation & contacts for Conservative and LibDem candidates.  (These parties at regional & local level did not respond to emails. )

Local elections councillor candidate survey: not going ahead, no capacity to organise

Update on Peat campaign:

Lindy wrote a press release that was positively received by Nancy Fielder editor of The Star but seems not to have been used. It’s on the Sheffield FoE website. Nick suggests approaching Sheffield Tribune for publication.

Potential speakers for future meetings : Lindy contacted Engineering dept at Sh Uni – positive response from HoD (personal friend) but no follow up so far. Lindy to pursue.

Future Campaigning

Drax:  We watched the CNN video of the impact of forestry for UK biofuels on the poor southern US states whose environment and health are being destroyed for transporting to and burning in the UK. Group agreed that we wanted to support the Yorkshire campaign against biofuel burning – not least because of the £1m a day that the gvt is spending on subsidies rather than investment in renewables.  Yorkshire meetings being held to coordinate campaigning every 2nd & 4th Thursday @7pm. Lindy will attend 25/3. Potential national campaign day Weds April 27th which is Drax AGM.

Peat: Nick had had responses from Wards, New Leaf and Ferndale Garden Centres.  All acknowledged the issue and said they were working on it, but ‘supply’ and ‘customer expectation’ highlighted as to why they weren’t yet there.  Shaun has contacted Sainsbury’s and is keen to connect with peat-free garden centre at Tissington.  Shaun had contacted the council re their use of peat & will forward the reply to Lindy for a holistic report. Everyone urged to keep badgering their ‘horticultural suppliers’.

Campaign Stalls:

·       SCA: April 23rd  Richard, Nick, Julie all hoped to be able to help out, Shaun to check shifts etc.

·       Nick suggested that the Bishop’s Garden Party on June 16th which is planned with an eco theme might have space for some FoE work – he will investigate.

·       Shaun shared the Bloomin’ Marvellous event in the Peace Gardens 7/8 May. No takers this meeting. Can be discussed in April (NB Lindy away that weekend)

·       Lindy forgot to mention the Sharrow festival on July 9th ……

Future Meetings

Having speakers was considered to be a positive step; if they can be linked to current campaigns, all to the good.  However, not always necessary.  Somewhere between 4-8 speaker sessions a year would be a good model.  All to think about possible speakers (easier now meetings all on Zoom) Shaun to pursue a speaker from a garden centre re the challenges of selling peat-free products. Nick suggests Cathy Rhodes, Diocesan Environment lead, Lindy to follow up with Engineering dept at Sheffield Uni.  Richard to review the many excellent links he has forged with the Schools’ conference contributors.  Several people interested in green hydrogen work developing with ITM Power locally but they have been unresponsive to all approaches so far.

Following up the idea that some walk&talk sessions might be sociable and good as meet-ups, Lindy suggested a couple of possible dates (May 7th & July 10th) and will send round a Doodle poll to the most frequent FoE participants to see if a core of 3 or 4 would be able to come along, before advertising more widely to all supporters.

Update on supporter numbers:: Database stands at 486 (+6 in the month); Twitter 816 (+ 10); Facebook 658 (-1).  Instagram 64 (+5)


South Yorkshire Climate Alliance: Richard reported on the difficulties facing the SY Climate Alliance with the failure of their £3.5m National Lottery bid and subsequent loss of all three staff. As a result SCA is in a state of flux, but will be hoping to develop new strategies soon.

Schools’ Climate Education South Yorkshire Conference: Richard reported of the extensive programme developed by the SCESY team for the recent online conference which were well received, though not as well attended as hoped at the time.  However, most events are now available to view on the SCESY website and the move from end-of-year July to this mid point should enable more developed follow up.

Mozambique LNG project:  An inconclusive judgement came out of court case FoE brought against the use of UK aid money for the new gas project but it was better than a straight refusal.  A disagreement between the two judges on the case has split the court, meaning an appeal is likely needed to reach a definitive outcome. FoE not giving up!

Leeds Bradford Airport expansion: Faced with a public enquiry and widespread opposition LBA have withdrawn their plans for a new terminal, though they are bullish about their intention to expand using their current facilities.  The GALBA campaign group, who we supported, will continue to be vigilant over the plans, however, we see this as a win.

Waste campaigning: Greg reported on two initiatives he has helped launch, based on successful work he had done previously when living in Chesterfield and Nottingham

·       a monthly community meal at the Food Hall using donated left over produce

·       Plastic Free Central, campaigning on raising awareness and reducing plastic use focused on Central constituency, involving businesses, churches, schools, community groups as well as individuals.  

Lindy offered to publicise using FoE channels if Greg passed on written details.

Groundswell: The National Friends of the Earth annual get-together is planned as regional in-person events this year.  Our most local are Birmingham on 14/5, Newcastle 14/5 and Manchester 21/6. Richard recommended these as energising and interesting opportunities. Lindy to circulate information.

 Next Meeting: April 18th 2022 (Easter Monday).7:30pm – via Zoom. NB: This will be the AGM.