It has taken Market Drayton a little while to begin to respond to Climate Change but things are definitely changing.
Last summer local resident Nancy Stewart was dismayed to find no events were taking place in the town or elsewhere in Shropshire to mark the staging of a National Climate Day given worldwide concern about climate change in recent years and with so many national and international promises having been broken. It was obvious our community lacked any group that was taking a lead on helping it stand up to environmental problems.
Fortunately an opportunity to rectify the situation came in October when Market Drayton Community Enterprise held its first ‘Go Green Festival’ at the Festival Drayton Centre. During the festival, which was attended by Town and Shropshire Council councillors as well as members of the public, a large number of people showed they held similar concerns to Nancy and wanted to get involved in doing something to address them.
As a result of that show of support and subsequent spadework by Nancy and several others – Carly Brown, Sarah Hopkins and Eric Davis – Market Drayton’s Climate Action Group held its opening meetings at the Mencap Centre in January. (One of the first decisions at the opening meeting was to drop the word ‘Group’ from the name in order to place the emphasis on ‘Action’, as evidenced by the draft logo image.) Despite Covid restrictions there was strong support for the group with full capacity at the initial meetings, when representatives of Palethorpes, McDonalds and Fordhall Farm were amongst those taking part.
No specific aims or objectives were set prior to the first meeting although it was hoped the group would help to bring about change in the town through the improvement of people’s habits, the sharing of knowledge and the lobbying of politicians and officials. Since its formation Market Drayton Climate Action has continued to clarify its way forward and also begun to identify the various risks to the environment and the steps that can be taken to reduce or eliminate them. Separate working parties have been set up to look into: community awareness, education and networks; the town’s transport arrangements; biodiversity and green spaces and potential reductions in consumption. A further working party is looking into the subject of lobbying.
Many local issues have been raised to date, which the group plans to address. For instance, how can Market Drayton residents reduce their dependence on motor vehicles when making journeys in the absence of adequate public transport arrangements? How can they reduce their consumerism with no local repair facilities or sharing mechanisms for major expenditure items that may only be required once or twice per year?