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Environment Update

Monday, March 26, 2012

Every few months my website will carry news items concerned with the environment and climate change compiled by my staff. I hope you find the items useful and interesting.


Improving Sheffield’s waterways

The Environment Agency has been active in the city during the last year, constructing passes to allow fish to travel around the weirs at Heeley Bridge and Millhouses Park. The Environment Agency hope that this will create a more natural river channel that will go some way to restoring the former habitat and river bed levels. This is part of an initiative to reduce pollution levels and improve biodiversity in Sheffield’s waterways.


The agency has also teamed up with the River Stewardship Company on a collaborative project designed to improve the quality of Sheffield’s waterways. The ‘Riverlution’ partnership has been created as a platform for communication between organisations, groups and individuals.


Jonathan Moxon from the Environment Agency explains:

“Riverlution aims to bring people together to make Sheffield’s rivers and waterways safe, clean and ecologically rich environments for everyone to enjoy. By creating a network of interested individuals, groups and organisations, we hope that the major physical improvements to Sheffield’s waterways that we’re currently undertaking will be maintained long term.”


B-Lines project

The Invertebrate Conservation Trust buglife is working on a project to develop B-Lines.

These are strips of wildflower habitat which link existing wildlife areas together to create a network of wildflower-rich lines across our countryside.


Supported by the Co-operative’s Plan Bee Campaign, a pilot project call ‘Bee-Roads’ is being taken forward in Yorkshire. Work includes mapping and creating B-Lines across Yorkshire and working with farmers to promote pollinator friendly farming.


If you want to get involved visit: www.buglife.org.uk or email: info@buglife.org.uk


Improving Sheffield Air Quality

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has announced that it will release an extra 2 million to local councils over the next year to reduce nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions.


Air pollution is becoming a major problem in many of our towns and cities with a significant number of urban areas failing to meet the European Union air quality targets. Funding has been given to a range of projects nationwide. Sheffield City Council, in association with the South Yorkshire Group, has been given 40,000 to conduct a ‘Sheffield City Centre Low Emission Zone Study’.


As mentioned in the last environment update, Sheffield was one of several UK cities failing to meet EU air quality targets with levels of nitrogen dioxide (a toxic gas produced by vehicle exhausts) almost 50% higher than acceptable levels in some areas.


Sheffield City Council organised a ‘Healthy Air in Sheffield Conference’ in December 2011. A range of measures are being considered including reducing city centre emissions by ‘low cost enforcement methods as well as cameras’ and introducing a 50mph speed limit on the M1 through Tinsley.






Update on HS2

The government has decided to proceed with the plan to build the new national high speed rail network. It will reduce the journey time from London to Sheffield to just 70 minutes. It is a more sustainable form of transport, with lower carbon emissions compared to road and air travel.


The new High Speed Rail network will be built in two phases - a formal consultation will take place on these routes in early 2014 with the final route chosen by the end of 2014:

         Phase 1 will be a new high speed rail line between London and Birmingham by 2026,

         Phase 2 will be new lines built from Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester by 2033, including a station in Sheffield.


For more information on HS2 visit: http://www.dft.gov.uk/topics/high-speed-rail/


Sheffield picks up environmental awards

Green Flag Awards are given annually by a consortium of charities on behalf of the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to recognise and reward the best green spaces in the country. New Green Flag awards were given to Charnock Recreation Ground, Manor Fields, Millhouses Park and Wyming Brook. Twelve sites in Sheffield retained their Green Flag status, including Heeley City Farm which celebrated its 30 year anniversary in 2011.



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