Alt-Sheff News The guide to Sheffield's radical, alternative, ethical business and groups Natalie Bennett appointed to House of Lords Sept 2019 *** Natalie Bennett, the former Green Party leader who lives in Sheffield, has been appointed to the House of Lords - which she thinks should be abolished. She noted that the Greens have three parliamentary representatives but this is only 0.2% of the combined total of MPs and peers, while the Green Party took 12% of the vote in May’s European elections.Greens’ new peer Natalie Bennett in The Guardian Tenants: Sign the open letter from ACORN Sept 2019 *** For years ACORN has been on the front line of the fight against homelessness and housing insecurity. They have prevented hundreds of evictions and where necessary, physically stopped them by confronting bailiffs and landlords with united community action.Following a campaign as part of the End Unfair Evictions coalition the government announced that it would ban Section 21 evictions, removing the ability of landlords to evict tenants for no reason, and with just two months notice.This was the greatest victory for tenants in decades but now the government and the landlord lobby are trying to undermine it. They plan to ban Section 21 but then beef up other laws to evict tenants in other ways.We can’t let this happen. The government’s consultation is overlong and complicated; designed to make it almost impossible for ordinary renters to complete without a degree in housing law!A formal response by ACORN members soundly rejected any attempt to allow unfair evictions though the back door. But we need more. We need to flood the government with thousands of responses from tenants so they get the message that we won’t stand for any rollback on this.To maximise the pressure on the government the End Unfair Evictions coalition has developed an open letter and template consultation response that we’ll use to avoid their attempts to silence us. Sign the open letter here at 38 Degrees.Secure housing is a fundamental human right and we won’t take a step back in the fight to secure one. Final weeks to respond about buses Deadline 27th September 2019 *** Dan Jarvis and the City Region Bus Review team need to know your feelings about the South Yorkshire bus services through a survey. Have you replied to the survey? It closes on Sept 27th. We encourage everyone to do it. Please, tell your friends who do OR don’t use buses: the report writers have to take notice if you respond to a survey, at least. So they really need to be told of personal experiences and views, by anyone, bus user or not.Survey at Sheffield Climate Alliance needs committee members. Sept 2019 *** Sheffield Climate Alliance (SCA) is a well-established coalition of individuals and groups pressing for fair and effective action to tackle the climate crisis, in Sheffield and across the globe. They are looking for committed and passionate volunteers to help expand its horizons with new points of view and new skill sets, by serving on its management committee.A new volunteer wouldn’t need a great knowledge about climate change, but previous knowledge and experience with other committees or governance matters would be welcome. The role involves meetings 6-weekly on a range of matters, such as events and projects, and working with others committed to fighting climate change at this important time.SCA works with local campaign groups and organisations such as faith communities, trade unions and businesses. They actively campaign by communicating about climate change, fracking, climate jobs, clean air, divestment, food and transport. They also take a strategic view, having a role in the Green City Partnership Board and at the City Region level. Nominations to Lauren Jones, Secretary: by Tuesday 1 October, accompanied by a personal statement of not more than 50 words. Or for an informal chat, call 07895 304100 or email Extinction Rebellion urgent call out Sept 2019 *** For people interested in doing more with Extinction Rebellion, they have sent an urgent call out for people who are able to go down to London immediately to help with power and stage building. They have more work than they can manage and they are struggling to cope with it all. If you’re available over the next few weeks and maybe have experience with tools, Hosting will be provided by fellow rebels. Please get in touch with anyone and everyone who you think might be able to help. If you think you might be able to spare some time and have any of the relevant skills, please get in touch ASAP.There has also been a request for admin assistance! These roles can be filled remotely, so please think about whether you might have the time and skills to help the central team with admin in preparation for the London Rebellion.If you are able to help with any of these things in any way, please e-mail XR North World Building and Production Team (Lottie and Louis!) at as soon as possible. Free cycling lessons Autumn 2019 *** Pedal Ready offers free cycling lessons in Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster. From learning to ride a bike to advanced commuter skills; bike included with all lessons.For details of courses and day sessions email: or phone Sheff 2412775.Pedal Ready Stopping the council mowing grass verges July 2019 *** A new petition aims to stop Sheffield City Council mowing grass verges at the sides of roads, where there is no foot traffic or safety concern. Long grass is an important habitat for many insects; we need to create more such areas due to climate change. Rotherham Council now treats such areas as wildflower meadows with popular approval. Grass petitionUpdate: August 2019 It has emerged (in response to a freedom of information request) that Sheffield Council uses dangerous Glyphosate herbicide on the city’s pavements and greenery. This substance (the best know brand is Monsanto’s RoundUp) is very dangerous to insects, plant life and humans. Legal cases against Monsanto are now being won, after years of campaigning. It has been banned by various countries and UK councils. Glyphosate is toxic even down to killing earthworms and soil micro-organisms, and effects continue underground for 2 years or longer. Safe alternatives to Glyphosate are available, so Extinction Rebellion Sheffield, Sheffield Green Parents, Sheffield Green Party and Sheffield Greenpeace are backing a petition on this matter. We urge Alt-Sheff readers to sign this petition, please.Stop Using Glyphosate petition Sheffield People’s Petition succeeds Autumn 2018, petition open until Aug. 2019 *** A petition is aiming to improve how Sheffield Council works. It urges a referendum to move from the current undemocratic "strong leader" system (just 10 councillors make nearly all decisions) to a modern committee system where all councillors have real power to represent the communities that elected them, and a big issue for local democracy, it was covered in an Alt-Sheff article in Now Then magazine.The petition is being run by It’s Our City, a non-party-political community network in Sheffield.UPDATE December 2018Feedback shows a big gap in people’s knowledge of how the Council works under the "strong leader" system. Virtually everyone does not know that the power to make nearly all decisions is in the hands of just 10 out of the 84 elected councillors. People are genuinely shocked, and about 80%+ support and sign the petition for change, which is heading towards half of the total necessary signatures.UPDATE July 2019From 23rd August, the council will no longer have a choice – a referendum will be statutorily required under the 2011 Localism Act. The campaign has achieved the required number of signatures.The first batch of 7000 signatures triggered a Full Council debate on 3rd July. The campaign called on the Council to change to a committee system, the last timetabled opportunity for the Council to avoid costs of a referendum. (Many councils have freely decided to make the change, most recently Cheshire East.) The outcome of the Council debate was rather strange. The motion proposed by Deputy Leader Cllr. Olivia Blake (which was passed) refers the issue to herself, for discussion with others, to report within six months. This is confusing because the petition will automatically force a city-wide vote far sooner. The Council will be legally forced to start preparations before the report.All other city-wide votes have resulted in a rejection of the ‘strong leader’ system.Short BBC Radio Sheffield clip: Toby Foster’s showRadio reports on the debate, and webcast from the Council chamber, here: People´s Petition continues collecting signatures, because some will not count (people not registered to vote, etc.) Please sign the petition before the final submission date, August 23rd:It’s Our City Petition