Shropshire Star

'History will not be kind to us if we don't' – Net zero measures backed by Shropshire Council

Senior councillors at Shropshire Council will demand their national parties do more to help them get serious on net-zero targets.


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The authority plans to be carbon “net-neutral” by 2030, and wants the same for the county as a whole, after officially declaring a climate emergency in 2019.

Now, leaders of the county’s major political factions will write to their Westminster counterparts to seek more support for local authorities, two thirds of whom are struggling to hit their targets according to a recent poll by the Local Government Association.

A motion put forward by Shropshire Green Party leader Julian Dean at full council this week also asked the council’s cabinet to look at ways to improve how the council measures its progress against green targets, and to examine best practice elsewhere.

The motion, unanimously supported by the council, also called on group leaders to seek commitments that the next Government would deliver “new partnership deals” between local authorities and national government to accelerate local de-carbonisation projects.

“We’ve got real effects right now here in the UK and indeed in Shropshire where we’ve had the wettest 18 months on record and we’re likely to see a decline of possibly 17 per cent in the yields from some of our most important crops in the county,” he said.

“History will not be kind to us if we continue to treat action on the climate as some sort of voluntary add on which we do [only] if we have some spare cash.”

He added that there was “no effective publicly visible partnership with public or private sector institutions working together on a green transition for Shropshire”, a statement which was disputed by climate change cabinet member Ian Nellins, who noted the council’s involvement with groups such as Zero Carbon Shropshire and the Marches Forward Partnership.

“A lot of this does chime with things that the cabinet has already agreed in principle,” he said.

“I accept that there is room for improvement and for learning from good practices elsewhere and that’s what we should be doing, and making it more visible.”

Liberal Democrat leader Roger Evans said he supported the motion but was worried about the availability of staff to implement the measures due to the authority’s programme of budget cuts.

And while Labour leader Julia Buckley said she supported the council’s climate targets, she added it would be a “complete waste of time” for her to write to Keir Starmer as Labour’s existing proposals already went further than those proposed – eliciting an angry response from Councillor Dean, who accused her party of “arrogance” in his summing up.

“To suggest that Labour have got this all sorted and will come with a perfect plan for local government is frankly a joke and I think we all know it,” he added.

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