Category: Environment

Recycling rates have stagnated – here are five steps to recycling heaven in Shropshire

Shropshire Council is in the top fifty councils in England for recycling rates. It recycled 54.6 per cent of its waste in 2019/20 but that rate has not improved over the last five years. Though it’s good news we are among the high recyclers, there is never room for complacency when it comes to environmental matters. The council has become complacent. South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse districts, both rural areas, recycle 63 to 64 per cent of their waste. Why can’t we do the same? Or better still, do better. The way recycling operates in Shropshire can and must be improved. Shropshire Council should set a target of being in the top ten of councils for recycling by 2026. We should aim for a minimum of two-thirds of our waste being recycled within five years.

We can’t solve climate change and biodiversity loss without solving planning – a view from the grass roots

I am writing from the heart following a battering few years trying to protect biodiversity landscapes from new developments and to get sustainable transport written into housing and supermarket schemes. On biodiversity, all we have got from developments in my expanding rural town is tokenism. Replacement trees within manicured landscapes. Not the untidy scrubby bits of landscape that are or will become biodiversity rich. On sustainable transport, the car remains king. There are no plans for bus routes to serve four major housing developments. The out of town supermarket, with the backing of councillors and planners, doesn’t even have a bus stop. The planning system is working against our national and international ambitions to enrich biodiversity and tackle the climate emergency.

We are losing trees and biodiversity in and around Ludlow (2) – Fishmore Quarry

In my previous article, I railed against the planning system which serves us badly when it comes to protecting and enhancing biodiversity. In this article, I look in more detail at the Fishmore Quarry housing development where the one of Ludlow’s richest areas of biodiversity has been bulldozed. It is far from clear whether the tree and shrub clearance is within current planning consents, though the developer insists it is. What is clear is that technical changes to this scheme have led to a significant loss of biodiversity. One of the biggest losses we have seen in Ludlow. We can’t keep allowing this. We should not have allowed it here. Biodiversity can’t be instantly replaced by scattering seeds or planting quicks and saplings. Biodiversity areas take decades to mature. We must change the way we assess planning applications to ensure this doesn’t keep happening.

We are losing trees and biodiversity in and around Ludlow (1) – it’s a failure of the planning system

Foldgate Lane. Rocks Green. Fishmore Quarry. Just three of the development sites where trees, hedges and scrubland have been the victims of recent work as development in Ludlow accelerates. There is a lot of anger around Ludlow and Ludford. Why are we losing so much biodiversity? Where have things gone wrong? The primary fault lies in the planning system. It assumes that the destruction caused by bulldozing and chain saws can be replaced by planting schemes. The system doesn’t understand that biodiversity takes decades to emerge. And that it happens randomly. Biodiversity is a real scruff and that is why biodiversity works. It is the bugs and beasties as well as the tatty shrubs, along with the good looking trees that keep our world healthy. Most biodiversity is not protected in our planning system and many planning decisions seem blind to the destruction being caused. We must give far more respect and importance to biodiversity when we decide planning applications.

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