Category: Environment

Shropshire Council looks to reopening of biodigester but employment land in Ludlow will remain scarce

Shropshire Council today said that the biodigester facility on Coder Road could reopen but not for a while. The driver is the government’s resources and recycling strategy which, though the forthcoming Environment Bill is expected to insist that councils collect food waste separately from garden waste. If new life is breathed into the biodigester it will be a back to the future moment for Ludlow, when once again we will have food waste caddies and separate collection. Ludlow companies are struggling to find space to expand. It is vital that the proposed employment site south of Sheet Road opposite the Eco Park is prepared for use as soon as possible. Unfortunately, Shropshire Council, which is investing £1M in a solar farm in Oswestry to supply a packaging business, even though there will only be a minimal financial return to the council, doesn’t seem prepared to buy the land and get development underway.

The Third Bin is coming… (updated)

Update: The cabinet has agreed to provide a free third bin. On Wednesday, Shropshire Council is to decide whether to provide an additional 240-litre wheelie bin for recycling to all Shropshire households that request one. The bins will be an alternative to the boxes we currently use for glass bottles and jars, metal containers and plastic containers. That will mean that most households will have three wheelie bins, one for dry recyclables, one for green garden and food waste, and another for residual waste. The wheelie bins will be optional and you may have to pay to get one (though I hope not).

Shropshire Council is dragging its feet on introducing wheelie bins for recycling

We have all seen it. Plastic recyclables blown out of boxes put out on the pavement ready for collection for Veolia. The boxes are not fit for purpose. They do not have lids and even if that was the case, there is a chance of the lids going the same way as the plastic milk bottles and trays that litter our streets in a decent storm. The good news is that Conservative administration for Shropshire made an election pledge to replace boxes with wheelie bins. The bad news is that the Conservatives had not worked through the election pledge. Any commitment will depend on costs and decisions to be made later in the year. With finances under stretch and no more than a weak commitment to tackling the climate emergency from the Conservative administration, the manifesto commitment on recycling might prove to be just rubbish.

Yesterday was Earth Day – was it also the day we really began to tackle the climate emergency?

Earth Day is now in its 51st year. If Donald Trump had gained a second term, it would have probably gone unnoticed in the Capitol yesterday. But Joe Biden is now leading America and he used the occasion to host an international summit and announce deep cuts in carbon emissions. Pledges came in from leaders across the world. Boris Johnson got his pennyworth in earlier announced that he will set in law “world’s most ambitious climate change target”, cutting emissions by 78 per cent by 2035 compared to 1990 levels in pursuit of zero carbon by 2050. Admirable stuff. More important than the headline figure is that the UK’s Carbon Budget will incorporate our share of international aviation and shipping emissions, which each contribute three to four per cent each to global warming. Are we turning the corner at last in getting the political commitments we need to drive the business and societal changes needed to tackle climate change? Maybe.

Earth Day: One fifth of the country’s poultry units are in Shropshire and Herefordshire – are our planning rules too lax?

Ludlow resident and PhD researcher Alison Caffyn has been scrutinising the outbreak of poultry units across our area of the Marches. As CPRE has pointed out, we have become the chicken shed capital of England – by July 2019, there were 500 farms with a total of 1,420 intensive poultry units/sheds, containing over 44 million birds in Shropshire, Herefordshire and Powys. As a member of the Southern Planning Committee, I know it is almost impossible to turn down a well prepared application for a poultry unit. Moral arguments cannot normally be used in planning decisions. The planning system only asks councillors to look at the form, location and impact of a facility and whether its purpose is appropriate for the location. It has been long established that industrial farming units are “appropriate” for the countryside even though they are little more than factories.

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