Are all fly-tipping incidents in Shropshire being reported? Probably not

Fly-tipping in Shropshire was down a little last year but the overall trend is no change. Over the last five years, reported incidents have averaged 1,400 a year, mostly on the highways and mostly domestic rubbish. Over the same period, Shropshire Council spend £500,000 cleaning up and taking action. There were only two prosecutions and twelve fixed penalty notices. More than 300 warning letters were issued. Thousands of perpetrators went unidentified or didn’t face action.

I am not convinced that the official data records anywhere near the number of incidents that occur on private land, especially agricultural land.

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Parking changes must support Ludlow’s economy and environment

Viv Parry, Tracey Huffer and myself have responded to Shropshire Council’s consultation on parking charges and length of stay.

We must balance the needs of car drivers with those without a car. The vitality of Ludlow depends on meeting the needs of traders and businesses. Residents need somewhere to park. Our town, which is set to see considerable expansion, must build its future around sustainable transport. Nothing else will work in a town enlivened and constrained by its historic fabric and environmental context.

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The felling of Ludlow’s trees. Are we losing our tree canopy in Ludlow town centre?

In June, I received an email from a resident suggesting that too many trees are being felled in central Ludlow. Thinking the resident could be right, I have been reviewing the data. Until now, we have not been able to see the wood for the trees because summary statistics weren’t available.[1]

Because of my analysis, we now know that in the last three years, 126 trees have been felled in Ludlow’s urban conservation areas.[2] At least 34 trees were planted to replace them. A further 163 trees underwent management work such as crowning and pollarding.

Ludlow Town Council objected to nine applications to fell trees. Shropshire Council upheld only one of these objections.

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Environment Agency okays underground tanks for new Ludlow petrol filling station

The closure of the Co-op on Foldgate Lane for more than eight hours yesterday after a burglary shows how desperately we need a second petrol filling station Ludlow. The nearest alternatives are at Craven Arms and Leominster. But a second filling station for our town cannot come at any cost.

Plans for a petrol filling station on Bromfield Road, along with a convenience store, have split opinion. I only gave my support for the project after an assurance that the fuel tanks would be above ground to minimise damage from any leakage. But now the Environment Agency has withdrawn its objections to the scheme. That’s makes it all but certain the development will go ahead with fuel tanks sunk into the water table.

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Michael Gove will be an environmental disaster

Theresa May’s appointment of Michael Gove as head of the environment and farming ministry, Defra, is a disaster in the making. He is likely to sweep away many of the regulations that protect the environment and biodiversity.

Politically, we live in curious times with no certainty that the government will be stable or strong enough to survive the Brexit process. Theresa May has reappointed most of her pre-election cabinet, but she moved Andrea Leadsom from Defra to become Leader of the House of Commons. Michael Gove has been brought back to cabinet as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. We have gone from a barely noticed Defra Secretary to one that will crave attention by swinging a wrecking ball through environmental regulation.

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