The use of cars is likely to “remain important” in Shropshire – despite moves set a date for carbon neutrality in the county.

Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for climate change, Dean Carroll, said the county’s rural nature is likely to result in private vehicles remaining important in the county regardless of efforts to improve sustainable transport.

It comes after council leader Peter Nutting said earlier this week that major roads are also going to remain key to boosting business in the county.

Councillor Carroll said: “The use of private vehicles is likely to remain important in a rural county like Shropshire.

“No specific growth in vehicles or private car traffic has been assumed at this point.

“The future contribution to Shropshire’s carbon footprint which derives from the use of private vehicles must also take into account the geographical distribution of future development, planned investment in public transport and the speed of the transition to ultra low emission vehicles.”

He added that plans for how the authority will tackle climate change are still on track to go before full council on December 17.

“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 will identify and aspirational target for net zero carbon and a set of key principles to guide our action plan.”

Councillor Carroll added that the authority has committed to planting thousands of new trees.

He added: “Data from the Forestry Commission indicates that Shropshire’s current woodland cover amounts 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.

“However, tree planting is only part of the solution and there will be areas, in wetland for example, where tree planting could actively damage our carbon reduction performance and other carbon management measures would therefore be more appropriate.”