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before Shropshire Council tomorrow is nothing more than a vanity project from council leaders that wish stamp their outdated legacy on the county.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)”

Guidance on how Shropshire planning committees work and how to take part

I have had questions recently about how to speak at Shropshire Council planning committees and I thought I provide an update on how the system works. Objectors and supporters should understand that planning decisions are a formal process and committee must follow the rulebooks, or risk having their decision overturned at appeal or even in the high court. The dryness, even dullness of planning committee meetings is a testimony of their importance and the seriousness that councillors bring to their duties. Having sat on several committees in my five years plus as councillor, planning is certainly the most arduous duty outside full council. We might spend five minutes discussing one application or it make take an hour, on some occasions longer. Then we are immediately on to the next, usually without a break. But it is also rewarding for councillors on the committee. We spend a lot of time preparing for meetings and recognise that even small applications could have a major impact on people’s lives.

Continue reading “Guidance on how Shropshire planning committees work and how to take part”

Ludlow Town Council calls for Castle Street tree to be felled and replaced – I agree

The council’s Representational Committee discussed the application by Shropshire Council to fell a tree in Castle Street car park last night. Agreeing with revised advice from its tree warden, the town council said that the tree could not be rescued as the base of the trunk had begun to rot after water penetrated through the split fork, which is close to the ground. Strapping the tree or selectively cutting its limbs would not therefore work. The council accepts the tree must be felled. But the tree warden and the council want the roots grubbed out and a semi-mature native species tree planted to replace the Norway Maple.

Having received independent advice, I completely agree with this approach. This is a change from my previous position of wanting the tree managed and saved. The biggest challenge will be ensuring the replacement tree is well maintained throughout its life.

Continue reading “Ludlow Town Council calls for Castle Street tree to be felled and replaced – I agree”

Yet another Norway Maple to be felled in Ludlow – this time it’s Shropshire Council to blame for unnecessary felling (updated)

Shropshire Council is seeking permission to fell a Norway Maple in Castle Street car park. The council plans to reduce it to ground level because there is a split between a major branch and the main trunk. Although this split has been there for a good while, I can understand why the council is concerned that it poses a safety risk to users of the car park. But this does not mean the entire tree should be felled.

The tree is suffering from poor management but it is healthy. It needs arboricultural care, not razing to the ground.

Despite Shropshire Council declaring a climate emergency just weeks ago, there are no plans for a replacement tree.

An update is provided at the end of this article. See also my subsequent article.

Continue reading “Yet another Norway Maple to be felled in Ludlow – this time it’s Shropshire Council to blame for unnecessary felling (updated)”