Areas of Enquiry
The areas of enquiry included at the end of the report, detail three individual ways to make the city greener, better for citizens' health and being more attractive for investors.
About The Three Areas Of Enquiry
Finally, the report contains three areas of enquiry as appendixes, focusing on three green-related topics: sustainable mobility; low CO² energy and resource efficiency; and green and blue infrastructure.
The sustainable mobility area of enquiry highlights Sheffield’s potential as a ‘cycling city’, suggesting a modal shift from driving to walking and cycling, for both a daily commute as well as for leisure. The commission sees this as greatly beneficial in three regards: economic, as it will reduce congestion and parking needs, in addition to benefitting the city’s image for investment and the outdoor economy; health, as active travel provides many health benefits, as well as a reduction in vehicle emissions providing cleaner and healthier air; and environmental, as the decline in road traffic will greatly reduce greenhouse gases emitted in the city. The report cites the change achieved by the city of Bristol, which has similarly shifted to cycling as a preferred method through a number of initiatives and investments, leading to almost 10% of their people now cycling to work. The primary challenge to this initiative is the prevalence of hilly terrain in Sheffield, which may discourage beginner cyclists in some areas; however, the city also has a wealth of parks, rivers and canals ideal for active modes of travel.
The second area of enquiry, based on low CO² energy and resource efficiency, addresses the city’s energy use. In order to tackle growing energy bills, the commission recommends local renewable energy generation and insulation schemes, which reduce emissions as well as generating new ‘green-collar’ jobs for the local economy. As such, these schemes eventually become self-financing, as green technology saves on costs over time and attracts new investment.
This enquiry also addresses another problem: fuel poverty. Multitudes of health problems are caused by, or exacerbated by, living in cold and damp conditions, which causes a drain on the NHS as well as untold human costs; as such, investment in insulation schemes is crucially beneficial on a human level, as well as environmental.
The third and final area of enquiry, entitled ‘green and blue infrastructure – quality of life – place making’, focuses in on Sheffield’s need for green spaces and biodiversity. As highlighted by the European Green City vision, Sheffield has a reputation to uphold as an ‘outdoor city’, with its large presence in the Peak District, its impressive woodland coverage, and its ‘blue infrastructure’ of rivers and canals. These parks and natural features are the legacy of Victorian planners; as such, this generation must also work to conserve and maintain the city’s green space, for purposes of health, leisure, wildlife protection, and as a living testament to Sheffield’s industrial and architectural heritage.