Shropshire Star

Calls to ‘re-forest’ council-owned land to tackle climate change in Shropshire

Council land could undergo ‘re-foresting’ under plans to tackle climate change in Shropshire.

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Shropshire Council’s climate change task and finish group met for the first time on Monday to discuss what could be done to reduce carbon emissions.

And the group has already announced it will look at planting trees on council-owned land that doesn’t have much agricultural value.

The meeting, which was held behind closed doors, also heard plans to tackle congestion, introduce electric vehicles and encourage staff not to drive to work.

Councillor Julian Dean, Green Party member for Porthill, said he was encouraged by the start the group made, but said there was a “job to do” to convince many councillors to take the issue seriously.


He said: “I welcome the presence of the portfolio holder Dean Carroll and the positive contributions from the other members, but I still think there is a job to do to convince many other councillors of the urgency and of the positive outcomes that are possible.

“I would like to see a good quality exhibition held in the county so we can all learn more as well.”

He added: “We hope to make recommendations by the end of the year to compliment the new Climate Change Corporate Strategy.

“We heard that there has been some delay in gathering the council’s own greenhouse gas emissions figure.

“We urged the council leadership to help make this happen more quickly. Without a ‘baseline’ how can we set targets and deadlines?

Electric vehicles

“What about planning, house-building and development? Can we get the right policies in place this year, within the local plan review, for zero-carbon building with infrastructure to support public transport, cycling and walking?

“We heard that officers are meeting at the end of this month to consider exactly this.

“We also discussed how the council’s own building schemes need to be carbon zero, and that we need to find ways to support homeowners and renters to make the changes needed to their homes, remembering that this will result in warmer homes with tiny bills.”

Councillor Dean added: “We discussed electric cars and how much of a contribution they will make.

“It was clear we need a public transport strategy and a walking and cycling strategy.

“We need council vehicles to be electric. We also discussed travel plans for council staff.

“It was pointed out that in some places car parks are no longer provided; instead staff are encouraged to travel in more sustainable ways.

“We agreed to discuss the results of a recent survey about how staff at Shirehall get to work, so we could make recommendations.

“If the council leads the way then we can then make suggestions to others, perhaps following the example of Nottingham where they charge all large workplaces a workplace parking levy to discourage car based commuting.

“Dean Carroll told us that there are discussions about reforesting some areas of council owned land that don’t have much agricultural value.

“We will meet again at the end of August to hear from leading officers, and then to kick of a series of meetings to look at all these issues. It wasn’t a bad start.”