Happy New Year

I’d like to wish everyone a happy new year on behalf of the 14 Sheffield Green councillors and all the best for a busy and positive 2023.

It’s been a great year in 2022!

20 years’ hard work of focussed election activity have resulted in a situation where Greens are influencing and driving real change in the city. As councillors, we sometimes find it hard to put our finger on simple successes because of the new regime of co-operative working. But, make no mistake, the current functioning of the city council is so much better now that Greens are one of the three parties in the Administration.

In May 2022, we increased our councillor number to 14 and were the only party in Sheffield to have an increase. We then negotiated two seats on each of the committees that are now the main decision-making bodies of the council.

It’s worth remembering this new committee system came about from the successful It’s Our City campaign and referendum that many Green Party members worked on.

Every issue that comes through these committees now has Green influence in the decision-making. Whether it is a major issue like getting the Sheffield local plan progressed through cross-party working or smaller wins like getting free transport to school for a child, a Green presence makes a real difference to people’s lives.

This is what changes the city – and the world.

The Sheffield Street Tree Inquiry is underway as a direct result of it being negotiated by Green councillors. We expect this report to be published in the spring.

A Clean Air Zone is finally to be implemented, after years of rear-guard opposition by Labour and LibDem politicians.  We welcomed the chance to unlock millions of pounds of grants to small businesses – money which had been sitting in the council’s bank account for years.

We have worked on equality issues – through the Race Equality Commission and by promoting the provision of free period products in public buildings.

Between us, we have worked continually to promote walking and cyclingbus services, heritage campaigns, human rights and the cost of living crisis.

Now the councillor group is big enough, we have been able to employ Andrew Cooper, an absolute star, to work with us as our policy adviser. Andrew has 20 years’ experience of being a councillor in Kirklees as well as unparalleled knowledge of energy issues. Andrew has steered us through getting a renewable energy strategy proposed and accepted by the full council. The implementation of this strategy is something we will be following up in 2023.

Nationally, we have worked with other Green councillors on issues such as Investment Zones and the Government’s enforced cap on social rents, which would mean substantial cuts in investment in social housing.  Green councillors made representations to government which changed their proposals for the better.  We estimate this change by government will result in an extra £3.1 million for council housing in Sheffield.

We will continue to do this work as long as we have a strong Green group on Sheffield City Council – this is where we need everyone’s help.

Because of our electoral success in 2019, we are defending four seats in May’s elections and we aim to win some more.  This will come with many challenges now we are part of the Administration taking responsibility for running the city.

So we need you to help us maintain the Green presence and keep the council in No Overall Control.

2023 is going to be an exciting year. I’m looking forward to seeing you on the election campaign trail where we can all make the difference to put Green policies into practice in our city.

Thank you for all your support

Douglas Johnson

on behalf of the Green councillor group