Councillors Bernard Little and Marieanne Elliot in a very leafy environment
Cllrs Bernard Little and Marieanne Elliot

Green councillors Marieanne Elliot and Bernard Little welcome a new task group looking at biodiversity and call for partners.

Wednesday 12th July saw the first meeting of the task group that Cllr Elliot established under authority of the council’s Communities, Parks and Leisure Policy Committee. The task group will look at nature recovery and improving biodiversity.

Speaking after the first meeting, Cllr Elliot said,

Now we have got this task group underway, we invite organisations working on nature recovery in Sheffield to get in touch if they would like to participate.”

“The Council declared a Nature Emergency in June 2021. We know that many species are in decline and we need to take a holistic approach to environmental land management if we are serious about nature recovery in Sheffield.

“Sheffield’s ecology is hugely varied and highly important for people’s well being, tourism, a viable environment and for a secure future.

“We have a wealth of knowledge and experience in Sheffield to draw on; numerous nature- focused organisations and a long standing history of excellent city ecologists.

“Our ecologists are experts in their field and their work is highly valued. Over the last few years they have been working with partners to map Sheffield’s natural capital and ecosystems to highlight areas of high biodiversity potential. Their work has contributed to a regional mapping project and South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority have recently been granted £241,265 to progress with a Local Nature Recovery Strategy. This is very welcome news.”

Cllr Bernard Little added,

“The Group will engage with key groups in the city, such as The Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust and the Green Spaces Forum with its over 100 Friends of Groups and the nationwide “People’s Plan for Nature.

“The challenge is to reverse The loss of  30 million birds have been lost and around two-thirds of our insects in the last 50 years.

“For Sheffield to be a Green City, we have to learn to live as part of nature, not apart from it.”


1. The membership of the group is 2 councillors from each of the Green, Labour and LibDem groups.
2. At its first meeting, LibDem and Labour councillors voted together to appoint a Labour councillor to chair the group. The Deputy Chair is a Green councillor.
3. The group meets in private and will report to the Communities, Parks and Leisure Committee in due course.

At Tuesday’s Sheffield Planning and Highways Committee, a Green Party Councillor objected to plans to build 13 apartments on woodland to the rear of Moor Oaks Road in Broomhill. Cllr Angela Argenzio said the Planning Committee ignored the Neighbourhood Plan, its own planning policies and the environment in recommending approval of the planning application

Green Party Councillor Angela Argenzio for Broomhill and Sharrow Vale who spoke against the proposal at the Planning and Housing Committee meeting said,

“The application to build the 13 apartments in the Broomhill Conservation Area was clearly in conflict with the Broomhill, Broomfield, Endcliffe, Summerfield and Tapton Neighbourhood Plan (BBEST) (1) which said that 50% of developments should be 3 bedroom homes to meet local needs. In this development only 2 of the 11 properties are 3 bedrooms. So a plan which has been developed by the local community and approved by the Council is simply not being taken into account.

The other concern is that the local community had not been notified that this plan was coming to committee. The planning application was submitted in Summer 2021 and so when we found out, a few days ago. that it was coming to the Planning Committee, it took many people in the community by surprise.

The loss of woodland due to this development is a loss to nature and to the local community. Local residents who lack gardens can currently look out on trees. Now with this development they will have that replaced with flats, which totally ignores the importance of green spaces on people’s mental health .

The Council’s planning officer advising the committee said that the trees were in poor condition because they were covered in ivy, but the Royal Horticulture Society are quite clear that ivy is not harmful to trees :

‘ivy is not directly harmful to trees and is beneficial to wildlife, control is not usually necessary’ (2)

The lessons from the Report into the Street Tree scandal by Sir Mark Lowcock, have still not been learned. When the views of ecologists are ignored in favour of development it diminishes biodiversity and our local environment. Local people are not being made aware of a planning application that will impact on their local environment. This shows that the recommendations from the report still need to be properly considered and embedded into the Council’s working practices and procedures.

It is clear that in this Planning Application that the Council has not properly considered nature, the impact on the Broomhill Conservation area or the community and I am very disappointed that this application has been passed.”

The meeting voted for the development with 2 against and 8 in favour. Cllr Bernard Little, the only Green in the Planning Committee meeting was against.


1 – BBEST Neighbourhood Plan – BBEST Neighbourhood Plan – Promoting the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of Broomhill, Broomfield, Endcliffe, Summerfield and Tapton

2 – Royal Horticulture Society – Ivy on trees – Ivy on trees and as a ground cover weed / RHS Gardening

Heather burning on moorland
Heather burning on the moors above Sheffield

A Green motion has led to Sheffield Council formally declaring support for the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill.

The Greens’ call was passed by the full council on 31st March after Labour councillors abstained.  The council has now resolved to write to all Sheffield’s MPs urging them to pledge to support the Bill.  Only 3 of the 6 Sheffield MPs have so far supported the bill, which was tabled by Caroline Lucas of the Green Party.

Cllr Douglas Johnson, Green Councillor for City ward, said,

 “I am delighted we can say that Sheffield City Council now supports this important bill going through Parliament.  I am pleased the Labour councillors did not oppose our demand and that the council is now asking those MPs who have not publicly supported the bill to do so.

 At the same time, it is disappointing that Labour councillors did block our declaration of a Biodiversity and Ecological Emergency in Sheffield itself.  There needs to be leadership and action at all levels of government.”

Commenting on the Labour vote to block an Ecological and Biodiversity Emergency being declared in Sheffield, Cllr Peter Garbutt said

 “There is plenty of good work being done by various organisations in Sheffield (such as Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust, Wildscapes and others) but what is needed is leadership, co-ordination and a will to tackle this absolutely vital issue.  The cabinet member for the Environment has been promising this for well over a year now, but all we have is prevarication.”

The Green councillors also succeeded in committing the council to negotiate with private landowners on the Sheffield moors about restoring peat land and using natural flood management techniques.  This will reduce Sheffield residents’ and businesses’ exposure to flooding.


For more information please contact Douglas Johnson on 07981 860 662 or at


Further information on the Climate & Ecological Emergency Bill is at

Sheffield City Council resolved that it:

(h)           notes that the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill currently passing through Parliament gives greater powers to take strong, urgent action on both emergencies than the current Climate Change Act;

(i)            further notes that more than one hundred MPs have already pledged to support the Bill;

(j)            supports, therefore, the passing of the Bill;

(k)           requests officers to write to all Sheffield’s MPs urging them to pledge to support the Bill; and

(l)            requests officers to write to the Environment Minister, the Rt. Hon. George Eustice MP, the President of the COP26 Climate Conference, the Rt. Hon. Alok Sharma MP, and the Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Boris Johnson MP, informing them of this Council’s support for the Bill and urging them to support it through Parliament.

Sheffield is now the largest city to join other councils that have formally resolved to support the CEE bill – see