Shropshire Council is consulting on the future of its library services – I fear for mobile library services

Shropshire Council’s Library services were reviewed two years ago. The conclusion of that review was that three tiers of library would be established: Tier 1 Library Hubs in Shrewsbury and larger market towns, including Ludlow; Tier 2 Community Libraries in the smaller market towns such as Church Stretton; and Tier 3 Community Libraries in smaller market towns such as Craven Arms. Rural areas would be served by mobile libraries with 281 stops in all.

The new library strategy was to last for five years. But just two years into its implementation, Shropshire Council has announced another review. The council does not give a straightforward reason for the review. Rather, it says “we identified the need for a refreshed strategy that offers a robust vision with clear priorities for the library service of the future.” Given how stretched staff are within the council, and how stretched its finances are, it is inevitable that people are wondering whether the review presages another round of cuts. Otherwise why allocate so much staff time?

The council says it is committed to retaining the three tier library structure. But it hasn’t said it is committed to keeping mobile libraries. There will be a drop in session in Ludlow Library from 10am to 3pm next Wednesday, 9 October.

Continue reading “Shropshire Council is consulting on the future of its library services – I fear for mobile library services”

This is what Shrewsbury Extinction Rebellion would have told yesterday’s Shropshire Council meeting if they had not been thrown out

I have written about events at yesterday’s meeting of Shropshire Council, including the walkout by Tory councillors who could not stomach listening to an Extinction Rebellion protest. That’s ironic. The Tories walked out because they did not want to listen to a protest about the climate emergency. They were more concerned with getting on with the business of building motorways in Shropshire.

The Conservative walkout was just ahead of the protests by millions of people around the world today at the lack of progress by our politicians on tackling the climate emergency. Many, but not all, politicians accept the threat of climate change. They just don’t understand the word emergency. Shropshire Council is a microcosm of the world’s approach to climate change. Do as little as possible as late as possible.

Richard Davies from Shrewsbury Extinction Rebellion was thrown out of the council meeting by the speaker who asked members to: “Treat [these people] with the contempt they deserve.” The Tories had a fixed look of contempt as they left. 

Today Richard has provided a copy of his intended statement. You can read it below. I hope all members of Shropshire Council and town and parish councillors read it.

Continue reading “This is what Shrewsbury Extinction Rebellion would have told yesterday’s Shropshire Council meeting if they had not been thrown out”

Extinction Rebellion protest at Shropshire Council today forced Tories to leave chamber – that was a disgraceful action

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!

Continue reading “Extinction Rebellion protest at Shropshire Council today forced Tories to leave chamber – that was a disgraceful action”

Shropshire Council proposes a vanity motorway having just declared a sham climate emergency

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. The legacy will be a failure to address the climate emergency that Shropshire Council declared only in May. I have no doubt that the Conservative majority on Shropshire Council will be whipped into supporting the proposal for a motorway at the council meeting tomorrow. And it won’t stop there. Soon, the motorway will push to Oswestry and Wrexham.

This just shows that council leaders’ acquiescence to declaring a climate emergency last May was nothing more than a sham.

Continue reading “Shropshire Council proposes a vanity motorway having just declared a sham climate emergency”

We should plant 350,000 trees in Shropshire by 2050, one for every person in the county (updated)

Update 19 September 2019

The motion was passed by Shropshire Council with only one councillor voting against.

Original article

Shropshire is a green county but it has lost a lot of hedgerows and a lot of trees in recent decades. There has been some replanting but Ludlow conservation areas alone have lost close to 200 trees in the last five years. We are due to lose around 100 trees on Foldgate Lane alone. Trees will be replanted in compensation but it will be decades before they mature and replace existing tree cover. At a time when a majority of public authorities have declared a climate emergency, including Shropshire Council and Ludlow Town Council, we must accelerate our efforts to plant trees and protect biodiversity.

Tomorrow, Thursday, Shropshire Council will discuss a motion written by myself and signed by Lib Dem councillors to plant 345,000 trees across the unitary council area by 2050. That will be one tree for every resident. I am also proposing a tree bank scheme to will encourage landowners and householders to pay for two new trees to be planted elsewhere for every tree felled.  

Continue reading “We should plant 350,000 trees in Shropshire by 2050, one for every person in the county (updated)”