Tag: climate change

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.

Climate change meetings in February – it’s time we put the emergency into declarations of climate emergency

People and organisations are at last getting on with tackling the climate emergency. But there is still more talk than action. Too much talking up achievements rather than recognition that we have barely begun tackle the problem. There is a lack of commitment to early dates for going carbon neutral. A few organisations are talking about going carbon negative. Shropshire has been in the slow lane but that is changing. We need to push the pace of that change. The council is finally making steps towards addressing the climate emergency. But it is making steps not strides forward. There are two climate emergency meetings coming up in Shropshire during February. Please add any other meetings to the comments on this article.

I have never seen such disgraceful scenes at Shropshire Council since the chief executive confiscated cameras to prevent filming of a debate in 2015. Meeting in full session, the council faced protests on the climate emergency by Shrewsbury Extinction Rebellion. As XR activists tried to address the council in guerrilla action on the behalf of our future, the Tory Speaker who oversees the meeting ordered all councillors out of the chamber. Like lambs being rounded up by a sheepdog, all the Conservative members filed out of the chamber with studied looks of disgust on their faces. Their action was a disgrace. The Speaker told councillors to treat the protest with the contempt it deserved as they were moved out by security. That was also a disgrace. This is deeply ironic because tomorrow millions of people will be walking out of schools and workplaces to protest about lack of action on climate change. Tory councillors walked out of a council meeting because they did not want to hear a protest about climate change!

Update 19 September 2019 Despite having declared a climate emergency, Conservation councillors voted to extend the M54 from Telford to Shrewsbury. They argued that was the only way that we would attact bigger companies to the county. I argued for investment in sustainable transport including trains. The motion was passed by the Conservative majority. Original article Climate emergency. Bah humbug! What is wrong with Shropshire Council? Instead of concentrating on the special qualities of our county, its greenness and quality of life, they want it to be just like Leeds or Birmingham. The latest idea from the environmentally dysfunctional council leadership is to extend the M54 to Shrewsbury. They know this will do nothing to improve traffic flow. It’s a smooth flowing road and everything ends up in a queue at Preston Boats anyway. But the reason the petrol heads at Shropshire Council want to extend the motorway is to attract foreign investors. They want to open North Shropshire and parts of Mid Wales for massive, sprawling development. The motion before Shropshire Council tomorrow is nothing more than a vanity project from council leaders that wish stamp their outdated legacy on the county. That legacy will be concrete and pollution….

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