Shropshire Green Party councillor Julian Dean has called out Shropshire’s Conservative administration, accusing it of failing in its response to the climate emergency after the Conservative group blocked two climate-focussed motions yesterday.
The first, a sustainable transport motion, was proposed by Councillor Dean with the support of Labour and Liberal Democrat colleagues. It was designed to improve access to public transport and make walking and cycling more attractive for all. However, the Conservative group added an amendment to the motion in support of Shrewsbury’s contentious North West Road.
Said Councillor Dean: “The Conservative amendment was a huge contradiction to the spirit of the motion and made it all but irrelevant. Sustainable transport is a 21st century solution to the issues of transport and the climate emergency. In contrast, the North West Road is a 30-years-out-of-date proposal and has no business being part of the same discussion. Conservatives’ heads may tell them that sustainable transport is the only way for us to meet our climate goals, but their hearts remain committed to tarmac.”
A second motion, proposed by Councillor Dean alongside Labour and Liberal Democrat colleagues, called for Shropshire to publicly support the Climate & Ecological Emergency Bill. It was also blocked by the Conservative administration after a last-minute amendment by Climate Portfolio Holder Councillor Dean Carroll. He recommended that the motion be sent to Task & Finish group for further scrutiny, delaying a vote on it for many months.
Said Councillor Dean: “Shropshire’s Conservatives had an opportunity to back a simple motion calling for quicker national action on the climate and nature crisis. Instead, they kicked the motion into the long grass. Other local authorities, including Conservative ones, have passed this motion without issue. It is clear that Shropshire Conservatives have learned how to do the window-dressing of talking about the climate crisis; yet they are not willing to take robust action to solve it.”
Yesterday’s council session also saw the release of a new council budget which was ratified by a majority of members.
Said Councillor Dean: “The budget was yet another missed opportunity on climate. It showed little ambition to kickstart the green recovery that Shropshire needs. Other councils, like Lewes and Brighton & Hove, where Green Party Councillors lead, have found ways to invest in improving homes to reduce bills and climate damaging emissions despite government cuts. Stroud Greens have worked with colleagues to find money to build a team of experts to see through green recovery projects. Bristol greens have identified ways to fund training in new green skills.
“Shropshire has done none of this. Instead, it passed a budget which leaves it drifting towards bankruptcy without the ambition to grow back greener. Sadly, neither the Labour Group nor the Liberal Democrats had any alternatives to propose. Until we have more Green councillors in Shropshire this situation is unlikely to change.”