Notes from Sheffield FoE Local Group meeting - 19th June 2023 by Zoom
Lindy Stone (chair), Shaun Rumbelow,
Greg Hewitt, Steph Howlett, Rebecca Ford
Liddy Goyder , Sean Ashton, Nick Jowett, Oliver Blensdorf, Ian McHugh, Corinne
Angier, Ruth Milsom
May meeting –
Councils’ action on climate case studies (Sandra Bell)
Following up on
discussion at our meeting in April, we held an in-person meeting in May at the
Showroom with guest speaker Sandra Bell, Senior Sustainability Analyst with FoE
who had led on the Councils Climate Action case studies project.
This was a well
attended meeting, with around 20 people, including two new councillors (one
Green, one Labour) who were particularly welcome. Lindy had made contact with as many Sheffield
councillors as she knew, inviting them and asking for the message to be passed
on and several had intended to come, but urgent party meetings before the new
council AGM called them away.
presentation was well received and attendees were buoyed by the possibilities
of steps, however small, taken by other councils. Sandra’s presentation has
subsequently been shared on our website and the link to the case studies shared
once again. Supporters have been urged to share the case studies with their own
Lindy has written
to the new Sheffield Council leader, Tom Hunt, with the case studies
attached. She also drew his attention to
Climate Emergency UK’s Council Climate Scorecards, as issued at the end of
2021, where the average of all UK councils is 52%, but Sheffield is on 0%
because it had no identifiable plan.
are asking that we target Labour MPs to stiffen their resolve in holding to
their sustainability plans. The most recent newsletter included a link to a
letter to Labour MPs welcoming the announcement that they were committed to no
new oil and gas. FoE have appointed a
new Political Affairs manager, Abdi Suleiman. Abdi has only just moved to
London from Sheffield to take up this role – and recently contested the Labour candidate
selection for Sheffield Central.
Letters have been
sent and lengthy replies received from both Louise Haigh (Sheffield Heeley) and
Olivia Blake (Sheffield Hallam) supporting the ‘no new il and gas’ commitment.
Louise has also posted her response on the Facebook page, saying she had been
contacted by many constituents and wanted to assure them of her personal commitment
to this policy, and that of the party.
At a recent
event, Lindy had spoken briefly with both Louise and Olivia who again assured
her of Labour’s commitment to green investment and in their speeches both
referred to its importance. However,
Angela Rayner who spoke at the event only mentioned ‘climate’ in a very
throwaway manner and possibly is an example of the older fashioned labour view
that it is jobs OR climate and doesn’t see fully the possibilities of jobs AND
At a further
event, (see below) Lindy heard Ed Miliband speak with determination and
commitment about Labour’s plans to tackle the climate and nature emergencies and
in a very brief exchange, he also assured her as an FoE rep, that Labour were not
turning back from their commitments.
We discussed the commitment
of the other MPs in Sheffield to decarbonisation and nature recovery issues.
that his MP, Gill Furniss (Brightside & Hillsborough) had not been very
responsive recently when he had contacted her. He had now sent the Labour MP email
to her and would forward any reply to Lindy.
Greg had sent the
letter on to his MP Paul Blomfield (Sheffield Central) and received a brief
supportive reply. Steph had on several occasions in the past contacted and met
with Paul and he had been supportive in principle but said that his inbox did
not show major concern about the climate and nature emergency. Possibly this is changing now. Paul had suggested
to Greg that he also make contact with Abtisam Mohammed who will be the Labour
candidate at the next election. Greg had already had supportive exchanges with
Abtisam about Sheffield Action on Plastic and would follow up.
No one in the
meeting lived in Penistone & Stocksbridge constituency but it had been
agreed at the April meeting that there was no point making contact with its Conservative
MP Miriam Cates , since she either failed to respond or fed back a government
line. However, Lindy suggested that
making contact with Marie Tidball, the Labour candidate at the next election
was an appropriate move.
Our database has
recently been updated to add in supporters’ constituency and it was agreed that
it could be appropriate to contact people by constituency, with details of how
best to contact Marie & Abtisam.
United for Warm
We have been slow
to get started with this national initiative. However, mailings had resulted in
nearly 300 names being added to our petition calling on all S Yorkshire MPs to support
action on the three areas of the warm homes campaign (urgent action to support
households, a sound insulation/retrofit strategy and a move to renewable
So far we have
only partnered with SYCA and GND SY in very loose terms. We need to try to access
TARAs, food banks, community support networks if we are to speak with those
most affected by the energy costs. However, no-one in the meeting had
We had our first
stall at the EcoFest staged by the Sprotbrough Parish Council (Doncaster) by
special request of regional FoE lead Simon Bowens, because this is in Ed
Miliband’s constituency. It was a
successful event with another 30 names added to the petition and some useful conversations.
stand at 342 and all 14 South Yorkshire constituencies are already covered. Aim
to get to at least 500 and/or at least 35 in each constituency – possibly using
a constituency-targeted request. .
All the materials
for United for Warm Homes are now together for additional stalls. We have
bought a banner and a wooden doll’s house to draw attention, pasted the large
cut outs on to cardboard, stocked up with leaflets and copied relevant papers
The following festivals
have been flagged by supporters for possible stalls.
Saturday July 1st:
Sharrow Festival: Lindy to check
whether there is a stall available. Steph said that XR would like to be there
also and would support our campaign/stall. Lindy/Steph to liaise.
Festival – Lindy to make contact
Sunday July 9th:
Firth Park Festival: Lindy will
check if another FoE supporter can lead on this: Rebecca said that she would
try to attend.
August: South Yorkshire Festival (Wortley Hall) No takers at the moment.
Eco Churches Festival: Lindy can attend and Nick Jowett hopes to support.
All of these
events need more people to support them.
Lindy to send general plea to supporters.
Email list now 703
(+182) since March, Twitter 954 (+31) Facebook 682 (-10). Shaun feels Facebook is
not getting much traction. Rebecca, as a younger person, said she used Twitter
and Instagram. Agreed that we ought to
use Instagram and should investigate more.
suggested an outdoor meeting/get together in July or August at Green Estate on Manor Fields
Park which was considered a good idea.
We also discussed moving meetings from
Mondays to avoid clashes, particularly with XR who meet every Monday. Agreed to trial this.