Calls to extend clean air zone consultation ignored
Sheffield Council has ignored calls to extend the clean air zone consultation, saying they need to push on with plans.
Councillors on the environmental scrutiny committee last month agreed to urge the council to extend its clean air zone and bus services consultation to allow more people to take part. But they have since decided against the advice.
Councillor Bob Johnson, cabinet member for transport, said: “We need to act swiftly to deal with air pollution and the public agree with us. We’ve received more than 5,000 responses so far, making it one of the best-performing consultations we’ve run. It’s important that everyone’s voice is heard but we can’t afford a delay if we want to reduce the illegal levels of air pollution by 2021.
“We’ve considered the recommendations of the cross-party scrutiny committee but we’ve decided to respectfully decline their request to extend the deadline for the reasons set out above.”
An extension to the bus services consultation period has been granted and will now end on September 27.
The public consultation on the clean air zone opened on July 1 and is due to close on August 25. The committee’s advice was to extend this to 12 weeks.
Councillor Ian Auckland, shadow member for transport, said: “My call to extend the consultation period was supported by the cross-party scrutiny committee so I am shocked but unsurprised that this seems to have been ignored.
“This is a short period consultation ending in August, when many people are away, and a Labour administration let down in the matter of trust and transparency. Sheffield deserves better.”
Coun Penny Baker, leader of the Liberal Democrats group, said: “The scrutiny board agreed that the consultation should be extended. It is beyond belief that the cabinet and officers have ignored the recommendations of a scrutiny board made up of opposition and Labour councillors.
“The leadership of this council has no backbone and it seems is being led by officers. Who actually runs this council?”
To take part in the consultation, go to www.sheffield.gov.uk/cleanair