Climate emergency response

Climate change and what you can do

Climate change and what you can do

Most people and businesses in the UK say that they are already taking some action on climate change and want to do more. We know it can feel overwhelming knowing where to begin, but everything that you do makes a difference.

A lot of people are concerned about the cost of making changes. The good news is that many of the changes you can make will save you money as well as make a difference to the climate. 

The information below includes information about the main grants that you may be eligible for as a Sheffield resident, business or organisation.

The United Nations Act Now campaign and the WWF Carbon Footprint calculator helps people understand their climate impact. It offers advice on changes that can make the most difference. Can Do South Yorkshire also provides local resources and case studies. Our Sheffield information on the Act Now top 10 actions are:

1. Save energy at home

For information about accessing energy efficiency grants, including grants for renewable energy and home energy advice, visit Warm Homes Sheffield.

2. Walk, bike or take public transport

Cycling UK are providing a months’ free ebike hire and cycle training.

Love to Ride South Yorkshire provides useful information for cyclists, including how to find quiet routes. Pedal Ready also delivers cycling training in Sheffield.

BetterPoints Sheffield is a scheme that provides users with rewards for travelling actively or by public transport. Users can earn vouchers with local retailers, public transport tickets or donate to charity.

There is more information on our Transport and travel hub.

3. Eat more vegetables

The ShefFood Partnership has information and events on eating sustainably and making good food available for everyone in Sheffield. Growing your own vegetables is a great way to eat sustainably and to enjoy time in nature. 

Sheffield City Council provides access to allotments across the city. There are also plenty of community allotments if you are just getting started.

4. Consider your long-distance travel

Taking one less long-haul return flight can reduce your carbon footprint by up to almost 2 tons of CO2e. That’s about the same as the carbon footprint of about 50 million plastic straws or driving twice around the world.

Sheffield is well-connected by rail, and ferry travel to Europe is in easy reach from Hull.

5. Throw away less food

Love Food Hate Waste provide information about reducing food waste and saving money. Locally, Food Works collect surplus food from organisations (as well as growing their own). They save it from becoming waste by sharing it through their market and kitchens. All are welcome to buy their produce. 

6. Reduce, reuse, repair, recycle

Reducing the amount of new things that we buy saves money and the planet. Sheffield has a wide choice of vintage, second hand and charity shops. There. you can buy, donate and often sell lightly used items. 

Using reusable water bottles saves money and plastic. Many shops offer a discount for using reusable cups or refill water bottles. The Refill app can help you find them, as well as publicly available water fountains. There is a water fountain next to the Town Hall in the Peace Gardens.

Sheffield Action on Plastic’s Reusable Revolution has reusable cup schemes for events, cafes and mobile coffee traders at Sheffield Action on Plastic.

You can find information about Sheffield City Council waste and recycling services at Bins, waste and recycling services.

If you want to know where to recycle specific materials, there are national recycling schemes, such as:

Please call ahead to check any information about drop off points is accurate before making a special journey.

7. Change your home’s source of energy

Installing renewable energy, such as solar panels, saves money over time, although there is usually an investment up front. A number of the grants available through Warm Homes Sheffield include renewable energy and provide free installation for people who are eligible.

The government’s GOV.UK: Renewable Heat Incentive also provides financial benefits for using biomass boilers, solar water heating and certain heat pumps. If you get renewable energy generation fitted, be sure to contact your energy provider to sign up to the Smart Export Guarantee. This ensures that you are paid for any energy that you don’t use and is exported to the national grid.

8. Switch to an electric vehicle

Electric vehicles reduce our emissions significantly. They are becoming more affordable and have ongoing fuel savings.

Our electric van trial for businesses and organisations is no longer accepting applications, but taxi drivers can try out the electric taxi scheme. Our news channels will advise of any new opportunities.

We have charge points in Sheffield. You can also look at sites such as ZapMap for locations of most publicly available chargers, including those installed by Sheffield City Council.

The government offers grants to support the wider use of electric and hybrid vehicles through GOV.UK: Office of Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV).

9. Make your money count

Using an ethical bank or building society for your banking and borrowing can make a big difference at very little cost. Locally, Sheffield Credit Union provides ethical savings accounts and loans.

Investing in community energy, such as Sheffield Renewables, increases the amount of renewable energy generated in Sheffield. This supports local communities and can earn investors a small rate of interest.

Buying from local small businesses is often more environmentally sustainable. It can help boost the local economy, especially if you walk or wheel to your local shops.

If you give to charities, local sustainability and nature charities and groups, they will always be grateful for donations.

10. Speak up

Opportunities to be involved in consultation and engagement about climate change will always be made available to people on the distribution list for our newsletter.

Sign up to our newsletter. Tick the boxes for consultations and surveys, and environment news and information.

Many local environmental organisations are members of the South Yorkshire Climate Alliance. This newsletter and website provides information about campaign opportunities.


If you’re a small or medium sized enterprise and you’d like to find ways of saving energy and reducing your carbon footprint, consider submitting an enquiry for the UKSPF Low Carbon Project. You could get a free carbon survey of your business, expert help to analyse the results and identify energy saving measures and the opportunity to apply for a grant to help meet the cost of the changes you want to make.

If you’re a cultural or community organisation operating from a building that welcomes members of the public, you could get very similar support through the Sustainable Community and Cultural Assets Project.

Businesses can find advice on making themselves more environmentally friendly and how to expand through the UK Government SME Climate Hub and the Sheffield Sustainability Network.

Contact the Sustainability and Climate Change Team

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