Sheffield City Council says they are “playing hardball” in making IKEA and Meadowhall pay £30 million for the road changes needed to handle the increased traffic they will generate. If the Council regards health and air quality as high priority, why isn’t it being tougher with them on air pollution?

There appears to be deliberate silence on the air pollution impacts of the many developments coming soon close to M1 junction 34. The locations are chosen to bring in customers and stock via the M1. Everyone knows that people living in Tinsley suffer maximum exposure – Darnall council ward has very high levels of asthma, respiratory and circulatory disorders and cancer linked to high levels of poverty.

Sheffield Green Party is currently drafting a submission to the Meadowhall Leisure Extension planning application. This is the key question we will be asking the planning committee to consider:

“At the IKEA decision meeting in 2014 the Council’s Director of Public Health stated ‘The exacerbation of poor air quality will undoubtedly cause more illness and very probably a small number of premature deaths. The adverse consequences are very unlikely to be outweighed by improvement in employment prospects and improvement in the economy.’

Sheffield Council’s Public Health Strategy, approved at Cabinet on March 15th 2017, states: ‘We will adopt a principle of health in all policies & systematically consider health and wellbeing outcomes, and inequalities across all of the decisions.’

How can this application proceed without major health impacts on vulnerable people in the areas affected by the business undertaken on this site?”

Eamonn Ward
Sheffield Green Party

In response to

Sheffield Green councillors have put a motion to council calling for an urgent review of supply and demand of student accommodation.

The call comes in the wake of several recent planning applications for hundreds of student flats in purpose-built accommodation.

Douglas Johnson, Green Councillor for City ward, said,

“Students are incredibly important for our city and equally so are mixed communities.  Ideally, more students would live in amongst the community and not just in student-only accommodation.

“The council hasn’t reviewed its student accommodation strategy since 2013 and, even then, there were concerns about the over-supply of single-room, purpose built student accommodation.

“Changes in student populations can happen quickly but big building projects could blight our city centre in a few years if they turn out to be the wrong type of housing. There is already a shortage of family housing in the city centre.

“It isn’t just an issue for the “market”.  It is vital that the city centre is a high quality place to live and work for everyone.

“We need a review to say whether the right type of housing is still being built.”


  1. The motion has been submitted for the council meeting on 6th September 2017.
  2. The Council’s policy on Creating Mixed Communities is at
  3. Sheffield Green Party’s motion is:
    Motion – review of student accommodation
    Proposed by Cllr Douglas Johnson; seconded by Cllr Rob Murphy
    That this council,
    1.    Notes the report to Cabinet on 18 December 2013 on the Student Accommodation Strategy that warned of the risk that the provision of more purpose-built student accommodation will lead to over supply and older blocks falling empty.
    2.    Notes that the Council’s planning policy CS41 on “Creating mixed communities” requires a mix of tenures and sizes in large blocks of student accommodation and seeks to avoid over-saturation of student accommodation
    3.    However, notes that many recent planning applications for very large blocks of student accommodation have been passed even where not complaint with policy CS41;
    4.    Therefore calls on the Administration to carry out an urgent re-assessment of the supply of and demand for student accommodation.

Dear Editor,

Nick Murphy is distressed about people not turning up for job interviews (Star August 12th). Just one in twenty people of working age are unemployed and the experience is often one of pointless bureaucracy. People are required to apply for jobs even if they have already been offered (but not yet started) another job. People are required to apply for jobs even if their health would prevent them from actually taking it up. If they don’t, they get sanctioned, and can end up destitute.

The Green Party would get rid of the sanctions regime. Around a third of the people who claim unemployment benefit have been out of work for more than a year. They have often lost confidence and the skills to get and keep a job. They need support and guidance towards a hopeful future, but instead are made to fill out twenty random job applications a week and waste employers’ time. We need employers who are willing to invest the time to support people into valuable work. We need a Government willing to really invest and support people as well.

Jason Leman
Sheffield Green Party

Yet again we read “Bryan Lodge claims…” This time he says “it could be millions”. Will they share with us the relevant parts of the contract? Only if it suits them. We can’t verify claims. The press can’t verify claims. Only the Labour Cabinet and Amey will know the small print.

The Streets Ahead contract lasts until 2037. The detail was never debated in the Council chamber. Never examined by a Scrutiny committee. Signed in 2012 as massive public service cuts began to bite. Is it wise for contract repayments to increase year on year? Answers to this and other public questions were needed. No one got the chance to ask.

Council inaccuracies and misinformation have become the norm. Using a dodgy dossier of consultation outcomes and interpretations. A one party state ruling council group oversees a contract we can’t see. They think and act using “commercial confidentiality” as their bulletproof vest.

Sweep aside Independent Tree Panel views. Ignore viable engineering solutions. Bypass dispute resolution and go straight to court. It’s just about winning now and burying opposition individually and collectively.

20 more years of Streets Ahead. Maybe 19 more years of the Veolia waste contract. Our council tax funds massive repayments. But with no transparency. No public scrutiny. No democratic accountability.

We must campaign against the council’s tree felling programme. Campaign to open up all Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contracts to public scrutiny. Campaign to oppose privatisation and bring public services back “in house”. Campaign for truth and against “fake news” PR.

Consumer champion Ralph Nader once said “If you’re not turned onto politics, politics will turn on you.” Don’t sit back and do nothing.

Eamonn Ward
Sheffield Green Party

The defendants in the Sheffield tree felling protest injunction court case, have decided not to appeal the August 15th judgement.

Green Party Cllr Alison Teal, one of the 3 defendants, comments:

“We have all chosen not to appeal after taking advice from our legal representatives. I’m disappointed that the council refused the offer of Advanced Dispute Resolution to resolve this. Instead they chose the expensive and aggressive approach of a High Court injunction. They had many months to prepare to go to court. We only had a few days.

I will continue to work with STAG colleagues to seek genuine dialogue with the council to prevent the loss of the vital environmental benefits provided by healthy mature trees. The campaign will continue to use peaceful and lawful means to limit felling.

We really appreciate the ongoing support of thousands of people within this campaign, including those who have donated to the legal fund. Dave, Calvin and myself are grateful to Howells Solicitors for their expertise and exceptionally generous support. I also appreciate the support of Sheffield Green Party colleagues, from members across the country and the messages of support from Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley.”

Sheffield Greens are very disappointed that today the High Court ruled in favour of granting an injunction aimed at preventing peaceful protesting against the Council’s tree felling programme. The injunction was taken out against Green Councillor Alison Teal, two other named campaigners, and ‘persons unknown’. It comes into force on August 22nd.

The ruling, handed down this morning, means that tree campaigners will not legally be permitted to continue standing up for Sheffield’s street trees and for local residents by preventing the felling of healthy street trees.

Reacting the the verdict, Cllr Teal has vowed to continue opposing the Council’s plans, despite the injunction, and expressed dismay at the Council’s heavy handed and unnecessarily aggressive tactics,

“I am very disappointed with this outcome, but will continue to do all that I can to save Sheffield trees. Sheffield Greens will not stop standing up for residents and communities who do not want this disastrous and unpopular tree felling programme to go on.

“I would like to thank my legal team for their excellent work, and for all the messages of support I have received. In the short term, we will of course be looking into possible avenues of appeal against this decision.

“It never had to come to this. The Council say that this action was a ‘last resort’, but in truth they have wasted time and taxpayers’ money on this needless, aggressive action when all they had to do was acknowledge residents’ concerns and to mediate with us.

“In this, the case of Sheffield City Council vs The People, it is democracy and the residents of Sheffield who have lost. This decision by the high court is very worrying, as the right to peaceful protest has been fundamentally threatened.

“The Council’s disastrous and unpopular tree felling programme continues to be a story of national and international embarrassment for our city.”

Natalie Bennett and Cllr Alison Teal with Tree Campaigners and residents on Rustlings Rd
Natalie Bennett and Cllr Alison Teal with Tree Campaigners and residents on Rustlings Rd

Today the Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) intervened in the ongoing Sheffield tree felling controversy on the side of anti-felling campaigners and parties. A letter from Environment Secretary Michael Gove called upon the Council to immediately cease its felling programme and begin talks with local residents and campaigners. [1]

Commenting on the development, Natalie Bennett said,

“Sheffield Greens welcome Defra’s intervention, and we are delighted that the British government is siding with tree campaigners.

“This latest development highlights how the Council’s blinkered and relentless tree felling is a story of national embarrassment for our city. This Labour administration are responsible for Sheffield now being known globally as the city where they cut down trees.

“Contrary to what the Council claim, their disastrous and ill-fated tree felling programme is not supported by residents, does not make Sheffield a greener or safer city, and is completely and utterly unnecessary.

“We hope that this latest intervention from a growing list of backers to the Save Sheffield Trees campaign – including charities, celebrities, journalists and local media, and of course thousands of Sheffield residents – will force the Council to abandon the felling of healthy street trees and get round the negotiation table with campaigners”.

Sheffield City Council have since released a statement in response to the letter, in which they falsely claimed multiple ‘inaccuracies’ in the story, and attempted to shift blame for the situation back onto local residents and onto the government itself. [2] Green Councillor Alison Teal, who along with two other campaigners is currently subject to a court case brought against her by the Council for peacefully protesting against the felling programme, commented on the Council’s response,

“In their reply to this demand from the Government to stop the felling, the Council continue to misinform the public. Mr Gove has no more access to the PFI contract than I do, and to suggest that a majority of Sheffield residents are indifferent to the felling programme is nonsense. I receive email complaints almost daily, and thousands of residents have joined the Save Sheffield Trees campaign to object to the fellings.

“Despite the best wishes of a blinded and untrustworthy administration, unscientific survey figures are fooling no-one, and cannot make this serious issue go away. The Council leadership must reappraise their attitude rather than riding roughshod over the community they are elected to serve.”



Labour Cllr Peter Price again says the World Student Games deficit was “settled” in 1992 (Star 2 August). So we again have to direct people to recent Sheffield City Council accounts which say

“The outstanding liability as at 31 March 2016 is £114.7million.”

The mainly roofless Don Valley Stadium was seen by many as an expensive white elephant and has now been demolished. But other venues have attracted big events – the Sheffield Olympics GB National Summer Games are very welcome here from August 7 to 12.

Clive Betts MP commented in 2011 “Labour borrowed money to provide facilities that are extremely well-used, and an asset for Sheffield.” The question is whether or not they have provided value for money. Debt refinancing means a final cost of £650 million with annual repayments of up to £30 million continuing to 2024. That’s more than four times the original cost of building venues for the 1991 Games.

Peter Garbutt
Sheffield Green Party

Dear Editor,

Mike Lawton’s letter (Star, 29st July – suggests that motorists should drive faster in the city centre. His argument is that driving at slower speeds uses more fuel so driving faster is better for everyone’s health.

The argument is wrong because cars only run most efficiently at steady speeds.  In town, drivers can’t maintain those higher speeds because they have to slow down or stop a lot.

Driving in the city centre at 20mph or less means less accelerating and braking. This will save fuel, improve air pollution and – most significantly – save lives through safer roads.  As the 20’s Plenty campaign points out, statistics show you are seven times less likely to die if hit at 20mph than at 30mph.

We still need far more friendly streets for pedestrians, cyclists and bus users but a city centre 20mph zone is a step in the right direction.

Douglas Johnson,
Sheffield Green Party
Councillor for City Ward