Labour Councillors have announced that they want Sheffield council to undertake a city-wide conversation to learn how the city can best protect Sheffield’s biodiversity and wildlife. 

It is hoped the new approach will help bring the city together to best demine how we can all act to help the city’s biodiversity to thrive. 

Over many years Labour councillors have acted to ensure greater protection for the city’s ecology, and are now determined to set about a renewed collaborative approach with organisations throughout the city to go further still. 

The announcement has been made in response to a council debate about adopting an Ecological Emergency. 

In response Cllr Mark Jones, Cabinet Member for Cabinet Member for Environment, Streetscene and Climate Change, stated that what was required was much more than a “top-down prescriptive approach” and that this crucial issue needs “a collaborative approach – with real action”. 

As well as making promises to re-double efforts to protect the city’s varied ecology and wildlife, Labour councillors have proposed a Sheffield Citizens Pledge – co-produced throughout the city, with wide public consultation when safe to do so. 

Releasing a statement, Councillor Jones, Sheffield’s Cabinet Member for the Climate Change and Environment, said: 

“Rather than political parties setting the terms of the debate, we want this to be a truly collaborative approach – bringing together everyone to set the agenda – and we hope this will include the Sheffield Wildlife Trust, Sheffield Climate Alliance and other key organisations. 

 “Perhaps the only good thing to have come out of the horrors of the last 12 months is that, due to lockdowns, people have reconnected with nature in way that has perhaps not happened for a long time. 

 “Labour councillors recognise the immense challenges facing nature and our wildlife and, quite simply, this is too important to get wrong. A rush to do something, just for sake for being seen to be doing anything, is not helpful. 

“Instead, I believe we need a focused, concerted, and collaborative approach, with organisations throughout the city to get this right. There is much that our council is doing, but we can go further still and learn how we can best do this, whilst ensuring that people understand the difficulties. 

“It should not be for the council alone to decide the terms of what an ecological emergency looks like and how this is dealt with. I firmly believe that you don’t win hearts and minds by telling people what they should be doing – but instead by working collaboratively to solve problems. 

“Politicians should be open to learning from everyone – and this is what we hope this consultation will achieve. Obviously, we are still in the midst of a pandemic but when we come further out of lockdown we should be able to develop a plan for something really meaningful”. 

Cllr Mark Jones
Cllr Mark Jones
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