Volunteers, businesses, community groups and councils have been working to form a strategy and action plan for Shropshire to tackle current climate emergency.

Planting 5 miles of new hedgerow, installing 2,000 electric car charge points, creating 500 acres of solar farms or wind equivalent, and re-wilding 8,000 acres of Shropshire every year for the next 10 years are just a few of the actions proposed by the Shropshire Climate Action Partnership (SCAP) to support the council’s climate change strategy.

SCAP’s recent report states that Shropshire’s carbon footprint is close to six million tones of CO2 per year. It also highlights some of the environmental change that has occurred in Shropshire and across the country.

In Shropshire, currently only six of our 127 water bodies are acknowledged to be as clean or ‘nature friendly’ as they should be. Woodland cover is below the national average at 9.3% (UK 13%) and we
have lost many hedgerows and other important habitats for wildlife. Farmland birds have declined nationally by 55%. Insect life is being lost at the rate of about 2.5% per year, threatening life higher up
the food chain, including humans.

-Zero Carbon Shropshire – A call to action

Both Telford and Wrekin and Shropshire councils have developed a new strategy following the adoption of the Climate Strategy Framework in December 2019. Work is ongoing and includes community engagement through a quarterly sustainability forum. The strategy includes a target for Shropshire to become carbon neutral by 2030. This will help contribute to the global climate emergency.

The council’s strategy focuses on six main themes:
  • Reduce energy consumption and improve efficiency of buildings.
  • Reduce emissions from travel, encouraging active travel and green energy.
  • Reduce indirect carbon emissions by working with suppliers of goods and services.
  • Reduce carbon emissions from water consumption and waste.
  • Increase renewable energy generation
  • Increase carbon capture and storage by 20%
Who are The Shropshire Climate Action Partnership?

SCAP is a partnership of, by and for Shropshire, established in August 2020.
It was set up with an initial objective to create a practical Zero Carbon Shropshire Plan (ZCSP), working to achieve the 2030 target.

Their plan outlines the potential actions that will enable the council’s strategy to be delivered. It confirms the need for immediate action by all, and recommends actions that everyone can do.

“We know the scale of the challenge, but also that we have the ability to meet it, working together”.

Allan Wilson, Chair of Shropshire Climate Action Partnership (SCAP)

Undaunted by the scale of the target, the plan details how the county can achieve 70 per cent of the changes needed, with work ongoing to outline further measures.

Many of these changes need to start now to be effective in time. With definitive action to be taken by businesses, councils and individuals across the county.

“Immediate actions are recommended from January 2021 that will
achieve significant reductions if acted upon by households, businesses and councils across Shropshire. Time is pressing, and the biggest risk is failure to mobilise on the necessary scale for immediate implementation”.

Allan Wilson, Chair of Shropshire Climate Action Partnership (SCAP)
What can you do to help

The potential for developing the renewable energy opportunities in Shropshire are huge, and investments in delivering green energy solutions such as a network of electric vehicle charging points are required. But individuals can also do their bit by looking at their own carbon footprint at home.

The difficulty is getting the message out to everyone and getting them on board. Becoming carbon neutral not only supports the global need for reducing climate change, but will provide excellent opportunity for employment and sustainable economic growth.

A plan can only succeed if everyone is on-board. Do your part and share this with friends and family, help raise awareness of the urgency in which we all need to act.

Check out your online carbon footprint and find out practical ways you can make a difference.

A full copy of the current Zero Shropshire Carbon plan can be found here.

Further details of Shropshire council’s climate change strategy can be found here.

Caroline Talbot
Author: Caroline Talbot