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.

Covid Watch 145: All quiet in Shropshire but national concern over Delta variant

It is looking good here. First dose vaccination rates are close to 100% and most people who have been offered second dose have taken it up. There have been no reported cases of Covid-19 in Ludlow for twelve weeks. Over the last seven days, 29 cases have been reported in Shropshire and 69 in Telford & Wrekin. Compare that to the first seven days of February, when there were 613 reported cases in Shropshire and 462 in Telford & Wrekin. The wider picture is less settling. The Delta variant is spreading rapidly in urban areas though it is not as yet putting a strain on hospital services. But its spread means that Boris Johnson’s Midsummer’s Night Dream of full re-opening on 21 June may still prove to be a lot of bottom.

Ludlow Town Council is seeking three new councillors – apply by 8 June

This is a great opportunity for you to speak up for the causes you believe in and help us make decisions about Ludlow today and tomorrow. Councils need a wide range of people with a wide range of experiences. This does not have to be professional experience. Commitment and experience of the everyday is as good a qualification as any. Ludlow Town Council is to appoint three councillors to fill vacancies on the town council. No experience is necessary and applications must be submitted by 8th June. The co-option meeting will be on 16th June. Apply here. The council, like all councils, needs new faces. New ideas. New energies.

New council leader Lezley Picton announces a pothole cabinet but will it get to grips with the climate emergency?

The Conservatives retained their majority on Shropshire Council in the 6 May elections despite loses of seats and its leader. On Thursday, the council appointed Lezley Picton, previously cabinet member for culture and waste. She will be the first female leader of Shropshire Council. There is some evidence that we have moved on from the Shrewsbury-centric obsessions of former leader Peter Nutting. But in her first day in the job, Lezley Picton outlined business as usual. Although she a promising a “pause and reflect”, the council’s most controversial policies – spending millions more on the shopping centres, demolishing Shirehall, building the North West Relief Road and the pushing through new local plan – she is not proposing to scrap the plans. The appointment of Cecilia Motely to head up transport, tourism and communities may bring a more rural perspective. And for the first time the cabinet has a member dedicated to the climate emergency and green economy.

Shropshire Council members get a pay increase and agree to automatic future increases

It is difficult for councillors to set their own allowances. It always generates controversy. Yesterday, councillors agreed the recommendations of an independent review to increase the backbencher allowance by 4% to £12,000 (which does not restore a previous cut of 6%). More importantly, it agreed to my proposal to raise allowances in line with the annual increase in council staff wages. We need never discuss backbench allowances again. We will need to debate adjustments on how much cabinet members and committee chairs receive. These roles change when the way the council works changes. Many councillors work their socks off, not for their allowance, but with the help of their allowance. Some I am sure don’t need the money but we can’t means test allowances.

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