We can’t solve climate change and biodiversity loss without solving planning – a view from the grass roots

I am writing from the heart following a battering few years trying to protect biodiversity landscapes from new developments and to get sustainable transport written into housing and supermarket schemes. On biodiversity, all we have got from developments in my expanding rural town is tokenism. Replacement trees within manicured landscapes. Not the untidy scrubby bits of landscape that are or will become biodiversity rich. On sustainable transport, the car remains king. There are no plans for bus routes to serve four major housing developments. The out of town supermarket, with the backing of councillors and planners, doesn’t even have a bus stop. The planning system is working against our national and international ambitions to enrich biodiversity and tackle the climate emergency.

As campaign to protect potholes grows, Shropshire Council pledges to fly the Union Jack from longstanding potholes

Potholes are part of our everyday life. As everyday as the shopping basket though rather more destructive of the wheels of cars, let alone the danger they pose to cyclists. But some potholes are exceptional and have gained celebrity status. Concerned about the continued destruction of potholes, Shropshire Councillor Andy Boddington, a former archaeologist, is calling for the county’s most distinctive potholes to be protected with a Grade II listing from Historic England. He has also applauded the new tradition of pothole dressing. Dismissing the councillor’s views, the leader of Shropshire Council has decreed that all long standing potholes in the public highway should fly Union Flags to prevent further damage to the county’s pothole heritage by distracted drivers.

Shropshire Council to use council meeting to smooth over highways problems ahead of 6 May local elections

Despite the clear restrictions on what council business can be conducted in the run up to an election, Shropshire Council’s administration has scheduled a meeting on its contractors’ performance on highways maintenance next Tuesday. It seems that the council is not aware that highways are a political issue and a battleground in many council areas around the county. Among the reports to be considered by the Place Overview Committee next Tuesday is one on the struggling highways contractor Kier, the company responsible for delivering highways repairs at a cost of £27m a year. The report admits to three years of failings but makes the case improvements are being made. This is a smoothie view of highways. If only our highways were smooth.

Ludlow town buses back to normal from Thursday 1 April when vax shuttle ends

Bus services have been disrupted in recent weeks to give priority to the shuttle bus between Ludlow and the Racecourse vaccination centre. From Thursday, the 701 and 722 will revert to their previous timetables, with each running every half an hour from Ludlow Assembly Rooms. The vaccination programme at Ludlow Racecourse is due to slow due to a reduction in vaccine supplies in April. The vax shuttle will be suspended. It might be reinstated later but it has been little used. It was the right idea but there was little demand. I am not convinced it should be reinstated at the expense of the town service.

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