Cllr Ruth Mersereau
Cllr Ruth Mersereau

The Green Party has expressed dismay and disappointment after the Labour Co-Chair of the Transport, Regeneration and Climate Chair Committee blocked a project to make local streets safer.

In the Committee meeting on Wednesday, Labour Councillor Mazher Iqbal called for the Crookes and Walkley Active Travel scheme to be halted. The scheme wasn’t on the meeting’s Agenda and no papers had been provided giving details of the scheme or recommendations. This lead to confusion during the meeting about what exactly Councillors were being asked to vote on.

Green Councillor Ruth Mersereau, a member of the Committee said

“There was no need to pause the scheme. It’s really important to give the schemes sufficient time to bed in, and to properly trial the interventions. Also, as officers advised that they would be continuing to accept comments and feedback, pausing for further consultation was unnecessary. Sheffield City Council is aiming for zero carbon by 2030, but there is very little recognition by the committee of the urgency to make decisions that address transport’s contribution to emissions. Making streets safer, cleaner and quieter, and easier for people to walk and cycle in should be the priority of a committee which includes climate change in its remit.”

Councillor Mersereau said that the decision wasn’t based on evidence:

“Details of the impact of the road safety measures were due to be provided next month, but Cllr Iqbal wasn’t prepared to wait a few weeks to see the data, and instead insisted on pausing the scheme. With these type of schemes, people who initially opposed Low traffic neighbourhoods often come to appreciate quieter, safer roads. We were also told by a Council Transport Officer that measures which were initially opposed by residents often become accepted after a few months.”