Climate change meetings in February – it’s time we put the emergency into declarations of climate emergency

People and organisations are at last getting on with tackling the climate emergency. But there is still more talk than action. Too much talking up achievements rather than recognition that we have barely begun tackle the problem. There is a lack of commitment to early dates for going carbon neutral. A few organisations are talking about going carbon negative. Shropshire has been in the slow lane but that is changing. We need to push the pace of that change. The council is finally making steps towards addressing the climate emergency. But it is making steps not strides forward. There are two climate emergency meetings coming up in Shropshire during February. Please add any other meetings to the comments on this article.

Planning application submitted for Ironbridge Power Station – 1,000 homes and 1.9 million tonnes of sand and gravel

I don’t usually cover planning matters beyond the Ludlow area but this is one of the biggest applications in our county. An application this size will have a widespread influence across the east of the county and beyond. There are two applications. The first sets out plans for 1,000 homes; a retirement village; a new local centre with leisure, commercial, retail and health facilities; a primary school; nature corridors; and public open space across around 140 hectares. The pump house will be refurbished to support either retail, community or river-based uses. The second application is to dig gravel over five years and reinstate the land before using it for housing. There are several weeks to comment on the main application, though less time on the quarry. Decisions are expected in the summer. It will be later if complex issues need to be resolved.

Shropshire Council says it can’t afford to care for adults and children as it consults on its struggles to keep within budget

The cost of adult social care is increasing by £8m to £10m a year. Children’s social care costs are growing by £5m a year. “This is unaffordable and unsustainable.” New and innovative models of delivery must be created to stem growth of costs. That’s the message from Shropshire Council as it launches a consultation on next year’s budget and seeks to plug a £14m hole in the 2020/21 budget. Basic council tax will go up by 3.99%. Your council tax bill also includes the police, fire, and town or parish council precept. The West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner is consulting on a 2.94% increase. Fire and Ludlow Town Council precepts are not yet announced. All found we are probably looking at an £80 a year increase for Band D properties. We’ll know more in February.

Will the proposed Linney House homes flood? We can’t tell from the flood risk assessment

Earlier today, I wrote about proposals for four detached homes in the grounds of Linney House. The development is on the banks of the Corve. But the flood risk assessment is based on the Teme which is 600 metres (660 yards) downstream of the site and around two metres lower. The flood risk assessment states the minimum ground level of the development will be 2.19m above modelled flood level of the Teme. That is not relevant. In October, the Corve was at a height of 3.7m. That potentially threatens one of the planned homes with flooding. A new flood risk assessment is needed based on local conditions.

Tory councillors demand retribution after I expose their options for Ludlow Assembly Rooms

It was always going to happen. The Tories that dominate Shropshire Council can’t take a word of criticism. Now, Councillors Steven Charmley, Peter Nutting and Lezley Picton have lodged a formal complaint against me for having “published information which had been obtained from a report to Cabinet that was exempt from publication”. This shows just how far Shropshire Council fails to understand that an open and challenging democracy is fundamental to way our country works. But in Shropshire, criticise the leadership and you are threatened with retraining, suspension or worse. The council leadership want to silence me. They want me to delete articles from my blog. No way. Never. Never. We are an open and challenging democracy. That is never easy. It is more often difficult. But it is the way our country works.

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