Tag: climate emergency

Shropshire Council still hasn’t put the emergency into climate emergency – I despair at its slow pace

Shropshire Council must have been taking lessons from Sir Humphrey Appleby. You will remember him as the permanent secretary who advised and cajoled the hapless James Hacker. When the politics of the moment were tough and when decisions were stalled by inaction and indecision, Sir Humphrey would recommend a review, a committee, anything that would not disrupt the inertia that drives all bureaucracies towards their natural state of inaction. That is all too often Shropshire Council’s approach to the environmental issues of our day. The council declared a climate emergency in May 2019. But we learnt from Shropshire Council’s scrutiny meeting a week ago that the council’s action plan on climate change will not be considered by the council until September, 18 months after the climate emergency was declared. Any council that took climate change seriously, would have presented its plan at last December’s meeting, or at its meeting in February.

The head of the Environment Agency today made a barnstorming speech on flooding. He is making the right noises about tackling the climate emergency. That’s welcome. But he still thinks housing can be built in high risk flood areas. Sir James Bevan didn’t speak about his own agency applying the lax national planning rules in a lax manner. According to a joint investigation by the Guardian and Greenpeace’s Unearthed news unit, 764 homes in our county are due to built in Flood Zone 3 – which has the highest risk of flooding – between 2015 and 2018. That’s one in twenty homes built in Shropshire.

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.

Climate change, reducing speed, shopping centres and fireworks on Thursday’s Shropshire Council

Back in May, Shropshire Council declared a climate emergency. Officers have been working to draft council policies to make tackling the emergency a priority. Now, climate is set to be one of the main topics on the full council meeting on Thursday 19 December, with a petition and a council paper. A Lib Dem and Green proposal to double the tree cover in Shropshire is also on the agenda. There will be a discussion about the long awaited replacement of streetlights with LED lights. 20mph limits outside schools and on resident streets will also be discussed. Among other items, the Lib Dems have tabled a motion on better organised and quieter fireworks to protect animals and children. The meeting will finish with a discussion of the council’s Shrewsbury shopping centres and purchase of a property in Oswestry. This debate will be held behind closed doors.

Shropshire Council sets out its climate strategy as COP25 looks like becoming COPOUT 25

In May, Shropshire Council declared a climate emergency, though the council’s leader refused to commit to any urgency. Cabinet members, councillors and council staff have shown a greater commitment to tackling the biggest issue of our age and the biggest issue for generations to come. The newly published route map to a Zero Carbon Shropshire only really deals with a Zero Carbon Council (Agenda 6). And it says an ambition of net zero council by 2030 may not be met. The Shropshire Climate Action Partnership agreed in May has still not been set up. After six months, I would have expected more. Meanwhile, in the heart of the Iberian Peninsula, the world’s annual climate summit COP25 looks like it is going nowhere. (Update: It did prove to be COPOUT25.) We must convert the hot air talked about acting on climate change into action on reducing emissions. We are stewards of Shropshire. Stewards of our Earth. We must do more. And do it faster.

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