Sheffield Plan also needs to plan for and recognise the benefits of nature

Sheffield City Council have published the long-awaited first stage of their new ‘Sheffield Plan’ which will guide how and where developments and infrastructure should take place across the Sheffield District (excluding the Peak District National Park) until 2038.

Dr Nicky Rivers from the Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust says “We welcome the start of the new Sheffield Plan. Although many details are still to come, we look forward to engaging with the process.”

“Our initial reaction is that we support many of the high level principles but we would like the plan to be more ambitious and to go further to make Sheffield a truly green and sustainable city at a European level. We welcome Sheffield City Council’s recognition of the climate emergency and its pledge for net zero carbon emissions by 2030, but we call on the Council to also recognise the current nature and ecological emergency, as the two crisis go hand in hand. For example, planning new habitat at different scales alongside and within developments can provide space for nature and reduce carbon emissions.”

One of the main features of the new Sheffield Plan will be where to build new homes for the future. The Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust recognises the need for new homes in Sheffield and will be pushing for this to be done in a nature-friendly way. The Trust will also be looking at the consultation documents against its own set of high level principles to see whether the plan will include:

  • Space for nature, not only to protect the existing natural environment, but also new areas and networks for nature’s recovery.
  • Investment to enhance, expand and maintain natural green spaces.
  • High quality green infrastructure in all new development areas- including street trees, biodiverse landscaping and features for wildlife.
  • Ease and equality of access to nature for people.
  • Space for water and investment in natural flood management as part of planned infrastructure.

Nicky Rivers says “The Sheffield State of Nature Report highlights the nature emergency locally. By identifying space for, and investing in high quality natural green spaces and networks, we can support much-needed nature recovery locally. And evidence shows that doing this provides numerous benefit for people including climate and flood regulation, improved air quality and improved physical and mental health, all adding up to quality places for people to live and work. These are all aims of the draft Local Plan and the links need to be made more explicit.

The Council is asking consultees, resident and people who work in Sheffield to respond to the consultation from 1st Sep to 13th Oct.

Nicky Rivers says “The Sheffield Plan will set out what kind of developments will broadly be allowed where for many years to come. I have worked with many communities over the years who did not know that an area next to them was already allocated in a Local Plan, as they had not known about the relevant consultation or realised how it may impact their community. We therefore encourage everyone in Sheffield to take a look and see if they agree with the initial guiding principles.

This is your first chance to have a say, and there will be a future consultation setting out in more detail where houses and industry would be allowed, and which areas should remain protected from development. We know the value of wildlife and green spaces to many people in Sheffield and we will be sharing our responses on our website and with our members in September.”

(c) Feature Image – Nabil Abbas
Post image s- Paul Hobson