Fourth Commission hearing report - 10 June 2015


The Green Commission met for its fourth of six hearings on issues that affect the sustainability of Sheffield, with presentations from expert witnesses. The meeting took place on the 12th of May 2015 at Sheffield University.

This hearing was focused around issues that cross-cut a number of Sheffield Green Commission themes including: Low carbon design, Green community interest companies and Blue-Green infrastructure. Three expert witnesses were brought in to give presentations.

The Witnesses

The first witness was Eddie Murphy Technical Director for Mott MacDonald, Essie is a consultant engineer looking at low carbon design on buildings as well as occupant and business reaction to green buildings.

His presentation focused on the economics of a low carbon city, primarily looking at the information from the Mini-stern review for the Sheffield City Region. He put forward the case for Sheffield to change into a low carbon city, taking data from the mini-stern he showed how investment can have an impact in boosting the economy, saving money spent on bills as well as generating revenue that can be recycled back into making further investments. He highlighted this by the use of case studies that showed that in areas that have invested in a low carbon future have saved people from all teirs of society money as well as having higher than expected returns on investment. Showing that the mini-stern estimates for the Sheffield City Region could be surpassed if the city found investment for low-carbon projects, something which he mentioned other cities such as birmingham and bristol had done. His presentation can be found here.

The second witness was Professor Cedo Maksimovic from Faulty of Engineering at Imperial College London. After having worked for 24 years at the Faculty of Civil Engineering, University of Belgrade and joining the EWRE Section in 1996 Professor Cedo Maksimovic created and heads the UWRG (Urban Water Research Group). His research fields include applied fluid mechanics in urban water systems: storm drainage, urban flooding water supply and interactions of urban water systems and infrastructure with the environment.

His presentation looked at the Blue Green Dream. This started by looking at where we are now as a planet, the impact we have had in the last 100 years and the affect we are having on climate, this lead into describing the blue green dream, how we needed to link up green jobs and social inclusion, energy, food, water management, resilience and disaster preparation into one. He made the case that at the moment that these thinkgs are often dealt with by seperate departments or organisations and how this lead to things beingfragmented with sustainable outcomes not appearing. The blue green dream puts forward the idea that spatial planning and design to retrofitting all need to keep all these different aspects in mind. He showed lots of diagrams, designs and cases of how when these systems are linked up and more sustainable whole can be produced. While looking often on a global scale the design, planning and management aspects can be applied to sheffield and how sheffield council departments and organisations could be linked to promote greater sustainability. More on the Blue Green Dream can be found here.

The final witness was Charles Purkess Marketing & PR Manager for ITM Power which concentrates on hydrogen as an energy source. Charles joined ITM in November 2008, as Marketing and PR officer to raise the profile of ITM Power and its technology, highlighting its application for decarbonising transport and the built environment, to policy makers, industry and the media.

His presentation focused on Hydrogen as means for clean energy with storage potential. He looked at ITM and why they believed hydrogen was a sustainable energy source. He highlighted the fact that if made from a renewable source such as wind and solar then hydrogen can storage that energy at the point of use, for both fueling transport as well as providing a natural gas subsitute. The fact that when burnt it produces simply water is a big positive for an alternate transport fuel. ITM is based in Sheffield so Sheffield could be the start point for a push for hydrogen fuelling stations for fleet vechicles as many tests have shown the system as relible and effective. His presentation can be found here.

The witnesses all brought forth interesting ideas, models and views on how the commission could look at the economic inperitives, the ideas for linked up systems and new fuels for any policies, actions or initiatives that come from the Green Commission.

The Green Commission members had chance to ask follow up questions to the witness, these were mainly around how some of their ideas could be put to affect for Sheffield, most questions asked focused on the economic cases for investment and other fuels.

After the second Green Commission meeting the members have seen 3 witnesses that have brought ideas blue infrastructure, low carbon energy and resource efficiency, sustainable mobility and climate change adaptation and resilience in order to make Sheffield a greener, more sustainable city. Each of the witnesses made good presentations on their topics and brought inspiring ideas for the future of a green Sheffield.

Look out for details on the next Green Commission Hearing which will be announced soon.

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