Ludlow Town Council calls for Castle Street tree to be felled and replaced – I agree

The council’s Representational Committee discussed the application by Shropshire Council to fell a tree in Castle Street car park last night. Agreeing with revised advice from its tree warden, the town council said that the tree could not be rescued as the base of the trunk had begun to rot after water penetrated through the split fork, which is close to the ground. Strapping the tree or selectively cutting its limbs would not therefore work. The council accepts the tree must be felled. But the tree warden and the council want the roots grubbed out and a semi-mature native species tree planted to replace the Norway Maple.

Having received independent advice, I completely agree with this approach. This is a change from my previous position of wanting the tree managed and saved. The biggest challenge will be ensuring the replacement tree is well maintained throughout its life.

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Yet another Norway Maple to be felled in Ludlow – this time it’s Shropshire Council to blame for unnecessary felling (updated)

Shropshire Council is seeking permission to fell a Norway Maple in Castle Street car park. The council plans to reduce it to ground level because there is a split between a major branch and the main trunk. Although this split has been there for a good while, I can understand why the council is concerned that it poses a safety risk to users of the car park. But this does not mean the entire tree should be felled.

The tree is suffering from poor management but it is healthy. It needs arboricultural care, not razing to the ground.

Despite Shropshire Council declaring a climate emergency just weeks ago, there are no plans for a replacement tree.

An update is provided at the end of this article. See also my subsequent article.

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Hedgehog highways and swift bricks must be installed in new developments, ministers say as they rush out announcements

New national planning guidance published on Sunday by communities secretary James Brokenshire orders developers to do more to protect wildlife. Ludlow Swift Group will welcome his insistence that developers install swift bricks in new homes. Pricklebums Hedgehog Rescue and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society will welcome the obligation for developers to install hedgehog highways. There is more to this guidance which strengthens requirements for developers and councils to seek a net gain in biodiversity when developments are built.

This is a welcome announcement but there is wriggle room in the guidance and a lot will depend on local interpretation. Wildlife groups and communities will need to lobby Shropshire Council to ensure that its forthcoming local plan has the strongest measures possible to protect and enhance biodiversity. Those measures might include a “greening factor”.

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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.  

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Shropshire Council declared a climate emergency on Thursday – but its leader would not agree to emergency action

On Thursday, Shropshire Council voted to declare a climate emergency. It was a good move and a late negotiated amendment got a deal on the table. But the Tories insisted that the “emergency” was taken out of “climate emergency” by removing all references to the target date of 2030. It was the best we could get through in the face of opposition from the Conservative leadership who refused to accept any deadlines for action. There will be opportunity for negotiating dates and a move from the council’s environmentally destructive business as usual approach over the next sixth months. I wish we could have got to that point on Thursday.

The final motion was drafted by me and revised in cross party talks minutes before the meeting began. It was approved unanimously. The Labour motion and Green amendment were defeated despite support from many Conservatives.

There was a huge public attendance, with well over one hundred people attending the public protest before the meeting. Many sat in an overflow room watching a livestream during a less than inspiring debate.

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