Month: September 2019

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before Shropshire Council tomorrow is nothing more than a vanity project from council leaders that wish stamp their outdated legacy on the county.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

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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.

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.  

We are denuding Ludlow of trees – we need to act to limit damage to the environment and biodiversity

We have been discussing the loss of trees in Ludlow a lot of late. Only yesterday, someone came up to me and said: “You can see it walking along the Breadwalk. Looking back to the town, there is much less tree cover than ten years ago.” I have no doubt that we are losing tree cover in the conservation areas in Ludlow. We are also losing a lot elsewhere in Ludlow too. Some new trees have been grown but a study of tree felling in Ludlow’s conservation areas over the last five years shows that applicants planned to replant only one fifth of the 218 trees they wished to fell. At the same time foliage was reduced on more than 300 trees. There are very good reasons for felling and managing trees. What we lack in Ludlow and across Shropshire is any system for ensuring that we get a net increase in tree cover and biodiversity.

MPs are calling for a ban on pavement parking across England – I agree

Today the House of Commons transport select committee has called for a nationwide ban on vehicles parking on pavements, except on designated streets. Currently the ban only applies in London. MPs have been examining the issue over the summer. They conclude in today’s report that the government’s inaction on introducing a ban “has left communities blighted by unsightly and obstructive pavement parking and individuals afraid or unable to leave their homes or safely navigate the streets.” I agree with the committee. It is time to reclaim our pavements from thoughtless car and van drivers. I would welcome the extension of the laws that apply in London to the rest of the country. It is, as the MPs say, time to act.

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