An oddball 2019 for Shropshire Council (1) – call for vegan adverts to be banned from Shropshire buses threatens freedom of speech

This is the first of two articles about the way that Shropshire Council has begun the New Year in a remarkably oddball way.

Steve Charmley, deputy leader of the council has got a bee in his bonnet about vegan adverts on Arriva buses. He wants them banned because Shropshire is “a great County built on Agriculture!” I would have hoped we are first and foremost a great county based on human rights and freedom of speech. Councillor Charmley is calling for a meeting with Arriva buses, a company the council subsidises to the tune of £2 million a year. That meeting would be wrong just at the point the council is planning to cut £405,000 from its £2.5 million bus budget.

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General Election 2017: What the Ludlow candidates said about – farming

Should farming continue to receive government funding? That was the question asked by a Radio Shropshire listener during Wednesday’s live husting. You can hear the debate online.

Labour’s Julia Buckley emphasised diversification and encouraging small farmers. Philip Dunne for the Conservatives said support would continue until 2022. Liberal Democrat Heather Kidd emphasised support for small and upland farms, and protection of the countryside. Green Hilary Wendt said farmers should be paid to protect the landscape and biodiversity, and help combat climate change.

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Shocking news that agricultural suicides remain high

Data published on Friday by the Office of National Statistics show that male agricultural workers have a suicide rate second only to low-skilled labourers. More than 60 men farming in England take their own lives every year.

Richard Huffer farms in South Shropshire and is Shropshire Councillor for the ward of Clee.

“To learn that agriculture has one of the highest suicide rates in England will come as no surprise for anyone in the farming community. We have all lost friends and colleagues in shocking circumstances.

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Farming, countryside protection and affordable housing up for debate at Bitterley meeting on 16 June

Farming, countryside protection and affordable housing will top the agenda at the next meeting of the Ludlow and Clee Local Joint Committee on 16 June.

Committee chair Councillor Andy Boddington says:

“We are lucky live amid the glorious countryside of South Shropshire. People come here to visit and to retire because the Ludlow area has great beauty, great people and superb places to eat and drink.

“We should never forget that this is a working landscape. We grow food on our beautiful fields. The countryside is full of small enterprises. Yet it increasingly hard for many people to find somewhere to live in rural areas, particularly if they are young and on a low income.

“At the meeting on 16 June, we’ll be debating the future of farming, the problems of affordable housing and the future of the Shropshire Hills area of outstanding natural beauty.

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Major grain store proposed for Kings Head Farm in Bromfield village

Plymouth Estates has submitted a planning application for a 4,100 tonne dry grain store (16/01438/FUL). A grain intake and grain drier will be incorporated within the building. Six grain silos are planned on the south side.

This is a big complex. It stands off the A4113 at the west edge of Bromfield village.

I haven’t yet taken a view on this application as a whole. I think we need to facilitate local farming businesses when we can. But I will wait to hear local views before making a formal comment. I am not convinced by the colour scheme proposed for the building.

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