How Shropshire will tackle climate change challenge to be unveiled next month
Shropshire council will set out its target for the county to become zero carbon next month.
But councillors will be warned that the used of private vehicles will have to remain important in such a rural county.
News of the authority's work to help slow down climate change was revealed by the Portfolio holder Councillor Dean Carroll at yesterday's council cabinet meeting.
It followed a question to the meeting from Mark Fermor from Belle Vue, Shrewsbury, who asked when the council would set a target date consistent with the emergency he said the world faced.
He also asked what passenger car projection would be included in future transport planning and for an update on Shropshire's commitment to tree planting.
"It would be appropriate for the council to commit to achieving 350,000 trees over the coming two years as we gear up the capacity to achieve a doubling of woodland in Shropshire from about 23 per cent to about 45 per cent of the county," he said.
"Woodland can help in may ways with the ecological emergency as well as being helpful to Shropshire residents in other ways such as effective, natural flood mitigation.
"In Belle Vue we have set up a trees group and aim to plant a tree for each resident within two years. I am sure your councillors can each initiate a similar plan for their districts. Residents will appreciate this tangible sign that the council is waking up to the emergency for example by offering trees and assistance for planting in gardens across the county.
"Shropshire led the first industrial revolution and can lead this one now."
Councillor Carroll said that data from the Forestry Commission indicated that Shropshire's current woodland cover amounted to only 9.3 per cent.
"Shropshire Council has committed to progressing extensive tree planting both on its own land and by working with private landowners as a contribution to carbon management in the county," he said.
He pointed out that is some areas, such as wetlands, tree planting could actively damage the carbon reduction performance.
Councillor Carroll said the use of private vehicles was likely to remain important in Shropshire.
"The future must take into account future development, investment in public transport and the speed of transition to ultra low emission vehicles," he said.
"The strategy framework to be considered by the council in December will identify the scale of the climate change challenge in Shropshire, review progress to date and identify an aspirational target for net zero carbon and a set of key principles to guide our action plan."