How Sheffield is leading the way to a greener future

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How Sheffield is leading the way to a greener future

The climate crisis is one that governments the world over are working together to try and tackle. Indeed the United Kingdom has targeted reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

As such, city councils across the UK are working towards finding sustainable alternatives for their cities to play their respective roles in meeting the target.

The University of Southampton’s ‘Green Cities’ report showed Sheffield is leading the way as the UK’s greenest city.

Some may be surprised, perhaps with the ‘Steel City’ nickname not really endearing itself to the idea of green living, but now it is hoped Sheffield can be a leading light for other cities aiming to emulate its success and strive towards a green future.

Here is how Sheffield is leading the way.

Size of green spaces

Sheffield City Council’s ‘Open Space Strategy’ targets having green and open spaces for every area of the city – an ambitious aim that has helped it compete with major European cities for the most amount of public parks, green spaces and tree cover.

Sheffield Botanical Gardens, Concord Park, Ecclesall Woods, and Hillsborough Park are just some of the notable hotspots enjoyed by residents, university students and tourists alike.

In fact, Sheffield can boast as much as 22,600 acres of green space (the equivalent of 155m2 per resident).

With a 20-year plan to placate the needs of its residents, deliver environmental benefits and improve the quality of green space in the city, Sheffield is certainly in this for the long haul.

‘Grey to Green’ scheme

Moreover, Sheffield is taking a leading role in finding air pollution solutions, not least with its ‘Grey to Green’ scheme.

Grey to Green is an initiative that has brought colour and sustainability to Sheffield.

Once a month, it plays host to Pollen, a flower market in the inner city, while it has helped bring tranquil spots in an urban environment that looks to encourage walking and cycling with more cycling lanes and pedestrianized areas while simultaneously reducing traffic congestion.

Grey to Green also introduced an innovative drainage system whereby flowing rainwater returns back to the city’s rivers in a clean, slow and sustainable manner.

Planting beds capture plastics from car tyres and road wear in order to stop them from reaching the watercourses.

Low carbon goals

Sheffield City Council has outlined its action plan for lowering carbon emissions and plans to have significant parts of the city powered by locally generated and renewable energy by the year 2030.

As part of that, its Local Plan includes policies to promote the development of low-carbon homes, which will have high standards of energy efficiency and generate their own heat or power. Such initiatives should help residents lower running costs and significantly reduce the city’s overall carbon emissions.

As the UK joins the rest of the world in attempting to tackle the ever-growing climate crisis, Sheffield is more than doing its part to show the rest of the country how positive changes can be implemented.

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