A letter to the Sheffield Star

The Covid pandemic showed us that nature-rich green spaces are fundamental to healthy and happy lives, improving our mental health and wellbeing. They also reduce the risk of flooding through carbon capture. Sadly, Sheffield and the UK are in a nature and biodiversity crisis, as was demonstrated in your article on Monday (Wildlife ‘red flag’ as data shows insects dropping like flies, 29/04/24).

Recently Gleadless Valley Green Party councillor Marieanne Elliot chaired a cross-party working group on biodiversity.  The group included stakeholders such as Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust, Green Spaces Forum/Green Estate and the Eastern Moors partnership. The resulting report recommended Parks and Countryside Service continues to prioritise natural flood management, carbon capture and nature recovery in all its policies. 

The report notes that high quality, biodiverse green spaces are not evenly distributed across the city. As a result, some of our most deprived communities have poorer access to nature and to cool woodland spaces in hot weather. Sheffield Greens will press the City Council to invest in our most nature-deprived areas and reach the report’s target of 30% of our land given to nature by 2030.

On the working group I proposed a Biodiversity Award Scheme for individuals, businesses and community organisations. These awards will aim to recognise and promote the great work already being done in our city, whilst further encouraging others to take action. It could be a family putting in a window box with insect friendly flowers, a housing development with wildlife friendly spaces, or a community garden.  Such action by Sheffield Greens aims to reinforce Sheffield’s growing reputation as one of the greenest cities in the UK.

Cllr Brian Holmshaw, Broomhill and Sharrow Vale, Green Party