Ludlow Town Council has tonight declared a Climate Emergency. It’s a good move. Now the hard work starts

Tonight, Ludlow Town Council joined more than one hundred other councils in declaring a climate emergency. This is great news. The council adopted a straightforward motion:

Ludlow Town Council declares a Climate Emergency, with an aim of becoming a carbon neutral organisation by 2030. It commits to identifying ways in which it can support this objective and to explore, with the community, the development of a Ludlow Town Council climate change strategy, and to consider establishing a Climate Action Partnership.

Now the hard work begins. The council will need a to review its policies and practice to meet this objective. Not all at once. But over the next few years it must buy power that is carbon neutral, use vehicles that are carbon neutral and promote polices that are carbon neutral. It must ensure that it promotes biodiversity wherever it has an influence and scrutinise planning applications for their impact on climate change.  

Ludlow made a great step forward tonight. I congratulate council members for so decisively declaring a climate emergency.  

At the beginning of the meeting, members of the public can address the council. I was surprised that no one spoke on the climate emergency issue. It’s then over to unitary councillors to address the council. After briefly addressing the parking issue, I spoke on the main issue of the day:

Today you are being asked to declare a Climate Emergency. We know the issue of climate. One or two people might think it’s not real. We know it is real. The consensus of scientists is that it is real. But why is it an emergency. The answer is that if we don’t act now, future generations will have very little future. And we must act now because it’s long term. We don’t as politicians think long term. But we must think long term. We must think thirty years. We must think a hundred years. And that’s not just for national government, which is in chaos as usual, but it’s for every level of government and every level of society. And we must work towards that. And there is a lot this town council can do. If it declares a climate emergency, it sets an objective. And once it has that objective, it says how do we work towards that. It then comes through. Your next purchase or leasing of vehicles will be EV. When you look at planning applications you say where are the EV charging points. In places like the Linney and Wheeler Park you say where is the biodiversity. Why do they look so stark? Can we do more? There are a lot of small things you can do. Your electricity supplier. As far as I know, it does not do renewable energy. Why not? You need to move in small steps. They are not big. It doesn’t have to happen next month. It will take a while. But if you make the declaration which councils are doing everywhere and just get on with the job. Because we must get on with the job for the future.

Councillor Robin Pote to the climate emergency agenda item. He said that in Ludlow we have had our own climatic disasters with the loss of the bridge in Coronation Avenue and flooding of people’s houses. We should have a motion to vote on that is relevant to Ludlow. We don’t want to be hidebound by regulations. He then proposed the motion set out above.

There was little discussion of the proposal. Viv Parry sought clarification on whether the Climate Action Partnership would be with Shropshire Council. The mayor said no. Councillor Colin Sheward said that he wanted a more detailed proposal on what is being proposed. To have a motion at such short notice on a complex situation [I can’t hear the rest of my recording of Councillors Sheward or Ginger. Please speak up councillors and please talk to the auditorium, not your paperwork!] The motion was carried.

This is a bold and welcome step by Ludlow Town Council. There is a lot do now. But that is the point of the climate emergency. It is to set in train a cascading series of actions that will change the way we live with our fragile world.  It will be hard work. But it is work we must do for future generations.