Planting millions of trees to be on Shropshire Council agenda 19 December

We are struggling to save trees. Our record in Ludlow is appalling. Trees have been lost with abandon on the conservation area. More than 100 decent trees are to be felled on Foldgate Lane. Hedges have been netted ahead of being cleared.  We are denuding our landscape.

We need to turn this around. We are in a climate emergency. We face a biodiversity crisis. We must plant at least ten trees for every one we fell. Let’s plant a huge forest.

First, we need to get the political and bureaucratic support. That’s why Lib Dems and Greens have tabled a motion at next Thursday’s meeting of Shropshire Council. It calls for doubling of Shropshire’s woodland cover. We hope it will get unanimous support from councillors of all parties.

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Work begins on Foldgate Lane housing but its not a great start – 100 trees to come down this week

Contractors moved onto the Foldgate Lane site last Monday. They are setting up a construction compound ahead of felling more than 100 trees from tomorrow (Monday 9 December). A couple of dozen heavy trucks have already driven along Foldgate Lane to deliver stone, machinery and cabins. This is in breach of planning permission, which states clearly that the lane cannot be used for construction access.

This is not an impressive start to this development which has been controversial from the moment the application was submitted. There is no need to fell over 100 trees along the A49 because an alternative access could be used. Officers have told Crest Nicholson that the tree trunks cannot be taken off site along Foldgate Lane.

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How do we double tree cover to slow climate change, boost wildlife and improve public health – a Marches National Forest?

Friends of the Earth has organised a lobby of councillors across the country asking them to support doubling of tree cover. I support that objective. We must plant trees to create a carbon reservoir to slow climate change, boost wildlife and improve public health. But should it be a wave of small woodland schemes or a huge project like a Marches National Forest?

We must get this right. That means selecting the right species of trees, ensuring we have enough skilled arboriculturists to manage woodland, planning for public access and ensuring a market for the harvested timber. Timber is a long term crop, so we must ensure that tenants and landowners have the right incentives and support. Trees must be planted in biodiversity poor areas, not those rich in wildlife or already storing carbon.

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Shropshire Council allows felling of three trees on Chandlers Close – it wants replacement trees – but refuses permission to fell two more

Housing association Connexus had applied to fell five trees on Chandlers Close, off Lower Galdeford. Its view, and that of residents, was that the trees threatened properties, paths and a wall bordering the Ludlow Mascall Centre. Shropshire Council says that the two trees reported as threatening the wall are not a threat. It is the maintenance of the wall that is the issue. It accepts, it seems to me reluctantly, that the three trees near properties must be felled as they have grown to a size where they are difficult to manage on this site. It is urging Connexus to replace the trees. I agree with that.

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Foldgate Lane housing development gets (almost) final approval – we can still improve the scheme and save dozens of trees

Yesterday, Shropshire Council planners approved the details of plans for 137 houses at Foldgate Lane after nearly five years of discussions (18/02413/REM). But the development cannot go ahead without yet another application to allow construction traffic to access. The housing is due to be accessed from a T-Junction on the A49. But due to the gradients on the site, this access cannot be built other than by construction traffic thundering along Foldgate Lane. Viv Parry, the Shropshire Councillor for the area, has said this is unacceptable. I agree. The lane is totally unsuited for construction traffic and we will oppose any application to allow this.

But we want to be constructive. By moving the T-Junction a short way south, the problem with gradients is resolved. Our scheme would also save much of the tree belt, where more than 100 trees are currently slated for felling. In our proposal, the T-Junction would be left turn only on leaving the site, reducing the risk of accidents on a high speed section of the A49.

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