Category: Environment

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. Trees must be planted in biodiversity poor areas, not those rich in wildlife or already storing carbon.

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…

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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,…

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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.

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