Tuesday, June 1, 2004

Press Release: Sheffield Friends of the Earth - Green Pledges

Press Release

For immediate release: Tuesday 01 June 2004

Sheffield Friends of the Earth - Green Pledges

Sheffield Friends of the Earth are asking candidates in the City Council election on 10th June to sign up to three Green Pledges to ensure that the new council will pursue environmentally friendly policies. Candidates are being asked if they will pledge to:

1.      Push for the Council to make the area GM free

2.      Ensure that everyone gets a high quality doorstep recycling scheme

Promote public transport, walking and cycling, whilst supporting measures to make our streets safer
Steve Goodacre of Sheffield Friends of the Earth said: “We want the City Council to pursue policies that benefit local people and protect the local environment, whilst making our contribution towards addressing global problems, such as climate change. Candidates can show that they are prepared to do this by signing up to these three pledges.”

For more information, contact:

Steve Goodacre 07890 374 154 or 0114 267 0508


GM free Sheffield

In March, the Government decided to ignore public opinion and safety concerns and announced its qualified approval for GM maize to be commercially grown in the UK. That decision could have lead to widespread GM contamination of our food, crops and environment. However, the company developing the maize, Bayer, withdrew the crop from the commercial market. Monsanto have since withdrawn worldwide sales of GM wheat.

Although the immediate threat of a GM crop being commercially grown in the UK has subsided, attempts to approve new GM crops and foods have not. Farmers have rejected them and the GM Nation debate showed massive public opposition to GM crops. However, despite Bayer and Monsanto withdrawing some of their products from the market, there's still a lot of marketing applications being presented to the European Commission.

High-quality Doorstep Recycling

Doorstep recycling services vary greatly throughout the UK. In some areas residents have a wide variety of materials collected and in others there is no collection scheme at all. Following the success of Friends of the Earth's Household Waste Recycling Act, all councils will be required to collect at least two recyclable materials from every household by 2010. This is a good minimum standard, but we think they could do much better.

Based upon research by Friends of the Earth across the UK, we have concluded that the features of good practice schemes are:

·         Weekly collection

·         Collection of a wide range of materials

·        Collection of recyclables and rubbish on the same day of the week

Safer Streets and Better Public Transport

Friends of the Earth are one of the groups involved in the Way to Go campaign. We want a transport system that is better for people, better for local neighbourhoods, and better for the environment. This can only be achieved by putting money into small-scale, neighbourhood projects, instead of massive road-building and road-widening projects, such as widening the M1 near Sheffield.

The kind of measures we want to see include:

·         Streets, lanes and paths in good condition, and pleasant for walking

·         A cycle-friendly road network

·         Services and facilities close to people, so they don’t need to drive

·         Networks of bus lanes

·         Safe routes to school

·         Lower speed limits – 20mph in residential streets

·         Quality standards that bus and rail services must meet

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