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Hang on to your wheelie bins – Eunice is about to storm Shropshire

It has been a very windy winter, with reports suggesting that 8 million trees have been blown down this winter so far. There will be a few more down by midday tomorrow, probably very many more. There is an Amber Warning of high winds in Shropshire from 3am tomorrow until 9pm in the evening. The Met Office said today there is an increasing likelihood of widespread inland wind gusts of 60-70 mph and up to 80 mph in a few places. Around coasts of west Wales and southwest England, gusts of 90 or possibly even 100 mph are possible. Severe flood warnings are in place south of us. These areas have a Red Warning, which means a danger to life. Ludlow Market is cancelled tomorrow and Transport for Wales has cancelled all train services including those through Ludlow. Buses might be cancelled at short notice. Power to homes and businesses could be lost. The general advice is do not travel. Friday will be a good day to hibernate. Could I suggest that people check their wheelie bins are taken in and secured? We had bins and boxes flying down streets during the somewhat milder Storm Dudley earlier this week. An…

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The legals at Shropshire Council have accepted my complaint that manifesto commitments must not be announced during council meetings. That is a long standing rule but the Tories decided to announce their manifesto commitment to highways at the Place Overview Committee on Tuesday. There was a bit of argy-bargy with the Chief Monitoring Officer who initially supported the statement by deputy leader Steve Charmley as being nothing more than a contribution to the debate. No one agreed with that position. Today we councillors got a correction and instructions that this must not happen again. This not a Tory council. It is Shropshire’s council. More on Tory trousers and adjustments thereof below.

It’s census time again – help is available – what are your stories of census days of old?

There are many ways of measuring how old you are. The number of censuses you have completed is one of them. You should by now have received your invitation to take part in the 2021 Census. It’s online but you request paper and there is support for completing the questionnaire from Shropshire Libraries. I said it’s an invitation. It is not. It’s compulsory. But is one of the most important surveys we complete in our lifetimes. Please complete it. Please don’t be Jedi. And share you experiences of censuses of old in the comments section below.

GPs have confirmed that vaccination for the over 80s will at last begin next Thursday, 28 January. We are behind in vaccination in south west Shropshire. We hope to catch up in just a few days. Residents of registered with GPs Ludlow, Church Stretton, Craven Arms, Clun and Bishops Castle who are over 80 will receive letters or calls inviting them to attend the Mayfair Centre on Easthope Road in Church Stretton. Clinics are expected run 12 hours a day, including through next weekend. Discussions are underway with bus and taxi companies about transport. Those that are housebound or cannot travel to Church Stretton will be offered vaccination in the coming weeks. Please don’t ring your GP about your vaccination appointment. Switchboards have been overwhelmed. GPs are saying: “Don’t call us. We’ll call you.” Ring 119 if you think you might be ill with Covid-19 or want a test. Ring your GP if you have concerns about other illnesses.

It’s coming up to New Year. It is normally a time for partying and what self-respecting party doesn’t drag everyone out into the cold for the firework display? The problem, coronavirus restrictions aside, is not the fireworks. It is that they have become noisier over the years. They scare the hell out of some people and traumatise a nation of pets. My dog hides under the bed in a panic, despite being an ex-farm dog used to guns. My cat is well frit for hours. It is not just animals. Many people with autism, tinnitus and other conditions also suffer. Shropshire Council has twice debated fireworks in the last year. On both occasions it agreed to provide advice and it has done so. But the council cabinet member overseeing regulation was meant to lobby government but has not acted. We need national action by MPs, not just debates in hallowed chambers.

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