Shropshire Council’s next meeting has a zero agenda – it’s a waste of money and should be cancelled

I have higher hopes for the new Tory administration under Peter Nutting than his predecessors, Malcolm Pate and Keith Barrow. But he is starting on the wrong foot by ordering a special council meeting with nothing of importance on the agenda.

Seventy-four councillors and dozens of officers will be involved in a meeting next Thursday in Shirehall. What will this meeting achieve? Pretty much nothing.

I don’t know how much a full council meeting costs but this meeting is not worth a brass farthing. The agenda is so thin it wouldn’t make a decent slice of toast.

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Another suspension of services at Ludlow & Oswestry MLUs – we must fight

Yet again, “staff sickness” has closed Ludlow and Oswestry maternity units. The level of staff sickness in our rural maternity units is extraordinary. Almost week in, week out we see a closure due to “staff sickness”. This is not staff sickness. It is understaffing and underfunding. It is a strategy that is set to deprive rural areas from vital maternity services.

It looks like rural maternity units won’t last long. Why on earth would a mother book into units that could be closed at a minute’s notice? Mothers won’t go there because they don’t want uncertainly at the most important time in their lives. Then Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) will then declare them to be unnecessary. We must fight this.

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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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Network Rail drop-in sessions on July A49 corridor rail and road closures next week

Network Rail will be holding a public drop-in session at the Bishop Mascall Centre, Ludlow on Tuesday 13 June, 3-7pm. Their team will also be in Onibury on Wednesday and Craven Arms on Thursday. The sessions are to brief the public on the full closure of the A49 to vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists between Saturday 1 July and Sunday 9 July. The rail line will be closed all day on the weekends of 1-2 July and 8-9 July with an hourly bus replacement.

This is in addition to previously planned weekend rail closures on 17-18 June and 24-25 June. That means that Ludlow’s rail line will be closed for four weekends in a row during the peak tourist season.

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