Year: 2019

I have received a lot of calls, emails and messages about the future of the 292 service between Ludlow and Kidderminster. R&B Travel has surrendered its licence to the Traffic Commissioner after its directors faced a public inquiry over repeated failings. The contract for the route is let by Worcestershire County Council with Shropshire Council contributing part of the subsidy. We understand that final details of the contract and timetable from 5 January are being finalised. I expect details to be available by the end of the week. Until 4 January, it is expected that the current R&B operation will operate as usual.

Climate change, reducing speed, shopping centres and fireworks on Thursday’s Shropshire Council

Back in May, Shropshire Council declared a climate emergency. Officers have been working to draft council policies to make tackling the emergency a priority. Now, climate is set to be one of the main topics on the full council meeting on Thursday 19 December, with a petition and a council paper. A Lib Dem and Green proposal to double the tree cover in Shropshire is also on the agenda. There will be a discussion about the long awaited replacement of streetlights with LED lights. 20mph limits outside schools and on resident streets will also be discussed. Among other items, the Lib Dems have tabled a motion on better organised and quieter fireworks to protect animals and children. The meeting will finish with a discussion of the council’s Shrewsbury shopping centres and purchase of a property in Oswestry. This debate will be held behind closed doors.

Shropshire Council sets out its climate strategy as COP25 looks like becoming COPOUT 25

In May, Shropshire Council declared a climate emergency, though the council’s leader refused to commit to any urgency. Cabinet members, councillors and council staff have shown a greater commitment to tackling the biggest issue of our age and the biggest issue for generations to come. The newly published route map to a Zero Carbon Shropshire only really deals with a Zero Carbon Council (Agenda 6). And it says an ambition of net zero council by 2030 may not be met. The Shropshire Climate Action Partnership agreed in May has still not been set up. After six months, I would have expected more. Meanwhile, in the heart of the Iberian Peninsula, the world’s annual climate summit COP25 looks like it is going nowhere. (Update: It did prove to be COPOUT25.) We must convert the hot air talked about acting on climate change into action on reducing emissions. We are stewards of Shropshire. Stewards of our Earth. We must do more. And do it faster.

At the time of publishing this (6.00am), Boris Johnson will command a very comfortable majority in the House of Commons. Jeremy Corbyn’s leftist agenda and dithering over Brexit has cost his party seats and influence in parliament. He will also stand down as leader. The Lib Dems fell flat with a campaign that was too much focused on Jo Swinson. She lost her seat by just 149 votes. The Greens kept their one seat. The Brexit party proved to be a figment of Nigel Farage’s imagination. A new vote on Scottish independence looks to be on the cards after Nicola Sturgeon strengthened the SNP’s dominance in Scotland. Over the border in Wales, the Conservatives gained seats at the expense of Labour. The political geography of our country has changed. Outside Scotland, we live in a more illiberal country. All hopes of electoral reform for the voting system and the Lords are once again as dead as a dodo. The two party system survived both in parliament and in media coverage. We now are aboard a runaway train hurtling towards Brexit. Only time will tell if we are heading towards a train crash for our economy, society and the future of…

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Congratulations to Philip Dunne on being elected MP for Ludlow for the fourth time. He has now been MP since 2005. He has a vote share of 64%, up just 1% on 2017, and commands a 23,648 majority. Heather Kidd increased the Lib Dem vote share by 6%. Labour’s vote dropped by 9% coming third after parachuting Kuldip Sahota in as a last minute candidate. Hilary Wendt achieved a small increase for the Greens. Shrewsbury & Atcham, Shropshire North, Wrekin and Telford were returned for the Conservatives.

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