How do we double tree cover to slow climate change, boost wildlife and improve public health – a Marches National Forest?

Friends of the Earth has organised a lobby of councillors across the country asking them to support doubling of tree cover. I support that objective. We must plant trees to create a carbon reservoir to slow climate change, boost wildlife and improve public health. But should it be a wave of small woodland schemes or a huge project like a Marches National Forest?

We must get this right. That means selecting the right species of trees, ensuring we have enough skilled arboriculturists to manage woodland, planning for public access and ensuring a market for the harvested timber. Timber is a long term crop, so we must ensure that tenants and landowners have the right incentives and support.

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Join the “Global Strike 4 Future” March in Ludlow 29 November #FridaysForFuture

29 November is Black Friday. The pre-Christmas internet buying binge. It is immediately followed by White Van Man Saturday, Odd Jobber Sunday and Courier Hell Monday.

Ludlow business Isla Bikes is saying enough is enough. It is blacking out its website on the biggest internet sales day of the year. That’s real commitment to the cause of tackling the climate emergency. You can give support by joining the Global Strike 4 Future March or coming to the gathering in Events Square.

The march begins at Isla Bikes at Lower Barns, SY8 4DS at 10.00am. You can also join at the Charlton (no parking in the car park please) at 10.30am. Speeches etc. will be held outside the Castle in Events Square from 11am to 2pm.

It is time to march for the future of our planet. Come waving your banners. Banging your drums. Ringing your bells. Blowing your horns. And, of course, lots of singing and shouting.

Isla Bikes explains why it is taking action on 29 November.

Why

We are facing a global climate emergency. Scientists agree we have entered a period of abrupt climate breakdown. Our governments around the world are failing to act with the urgency necessary to prevent the impending catastrophe.

A single child, Greta Thunberg, has catalysed an international movement of Global Strikes 4 Future calling on governments to ACT NOW. They are still not listening.

We believe the scientists and want to add our support to our children’s cries for help.

What

Islabikes will close for the day and join the Global Strike 4 Future in Ludlow on Friday 29th November.

Our website will be closed for 24hrs on what happens to be Black Friday and our biggest trading day of the year. This is a big statement from us and a measure of just how seriously we take the current situation.

We will march from our Lower Barns location into the centre of Ludlow where we will demonstrate for three hours before returning to Lower Barns.

If you are concerned too – please join us!!!

We understand you may feel a little self-conscious taking action in town but we hope that knowing a large group of us will be there will give you the courage to come out and stand up for what you believe in.

Please circulate this to anyone you know who may be interested – businesses, schools, clubs, churches and friends.

On the day

We plan the “mood” of the action to be family friendly and awareness raising, nothing confrontational. Banners and singing will be the order of the day!

10:00am – Leave Islabikes and march via Ludford Bridge and Broad Street to Castle Square (join us here to march with us, arrive early if you’d like a cuppa first).

10:30am approx – Cross Ludford Bridge (join us here for a shorter walk).

11:00am approx – Arrive Events Square, in Castle Square (join us here to protest with us).

2:00pm – March back to Islabikes premises at Lower Barns.

The government’s Environment Bill takes the emergency out of climate emergency and is full of holes

As the Brexit skirmishes continue, it is easy to lose track of other important pieces of legislation struggling to get parliamentary time. One of those is the Environment Bill. The second reading of the bill on 23 October was abruptly cancelled to make way for the Withdrawal Agreement Bill. That’s ironic as a large part of the Environment Bill is concerned with reinstating the environmental protection the UK will lose if it ceases to a member of the EU. The bill aims for a lot more, including a deposit return scheme for drinks containers, measures to improve air quality, and rules to ensure biodiversity net gain from housing and some other developments.

It’s a great forward looking bill. At least, that’s what ministers say. In practice the bill is colander bill. It is full of holes. It fails to incorporate the principle of non-regression into law. It sets 2037 as the earliest date for any environmental targets and those targets are at the behest of ministers. It allows environmental policies to be watered down by ministers at a whim, including the target for biodiversity gain. It is a bill that takes the emergency out of the climate emergency. Continue reading “The government’s Environment Bill takes the emergency out of climate emergency and is full of holes”

New petition to put the emergency into Shropshire Council’s climate emergency – it needs 1,000 signatures to trigger a council debate

In May, Shropshire Council agreed to follow the lead of councils around the country and declare a climate emergency. But the council leader would not allow councillors to set a deadline for the council or the county becoming carbon neutral. The result was a declaration of a climate emergency without any sense of emergency.

A petition from Shewsbury Friends of the Earth published on the council website today calls on the council to achieve net carbon zero emissions from the council’s activities by 2030. It is vital that the council achieves carbon neutrality by 2030. That will contribute towards the future of the planet. It will also to show civic leadership towards employers and businesses across the county and encourage them to put future carbon neutrality at the core of their business plans.

I urge everyone to sign this petition. If it gains 1,000 signatures in the next few weeks, it will be debated in the council chamber on 12 December.

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Shropshire Council allows felling of three trees on Chandlers Close – it wants replacement trees – but refuses permission to fell two more

Housing association Connexus had applied to fell five trees on Chandlers Close, off Lower Galdeford. Its view, and that of residents, was that the trees threatened properties, paths and a wall bordering the Ludlow Mascall Centre. Shropshire Council says that the two trees reported as threatening the wall are not a threat. It is the maintenance of the wall that is the issue. It accepts, it seems to me reluctantly, that the three trees near properties must be felled as they have grown to a size where they are difficult to manage on this site. It is urging Connexus to replace the trees. I agree with that.

Continue reading “Shropshire Council allows felling of three trees on Chandlers Close – it wants replacement trees – but refuses permission to fell two more”