County Councillors – Gartree – December 2023

Zero Carbon Innovation Centre

Major new plans for a multi-million pound East Midlands zero carbon innovation centre – aiming to transform cutting edge green research into commercial products – have been unveiled by East Midlands Freeport.

The innovation centre will be delivered by the University of Nottingham and Loughborough University, who will be matching the East Midlands Freeport’s investment.

As part of the University of Nottingham’s ambitious, science-based carbon reduction target to reach net zero by 2040, the innovation centre will provide the necessary technology and laboratories to progress research in electrification and hydrogen propulsion systems.

Professor Dan Parsons, Loughborough University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, said: “We are delighted that funding has been secured for the new centre, which will help ensure the East Midlands is at the forefront of net zero carbon innovation.

We look forward to working with our colleagues at the University of Nottingham and bringing our combined strengths together in renewable energy and hydrogen to help accelerate progress towards achieving net zero emissions.”

Helping record our important trees

A new app which allows people to record the most valuable and important trees in the county has been developed by Leicestershire County Council – and volunteers are now being sought to test it out in the field.

The Mergin app can be used to capture details of ancient trees and those which might benefit from Tree Preservation Orders. All the data collected is then used by the council to build up a record of the county’s important trees to help safeguard them for the future.

Now, an appeal has gone out for volunteers to go out and about in their communities to map and record the trees in their area.

The app will enable the volunteers to record a large amount of data about each individual tree, including location, species, size, condition, age and shape, as well as any potential threats which might put the tree at risk.

Volunteers will need to complete around two hours of training on how to use the app, and will be signed up as Environment Action Volunteers, before being asked to go out and catalogue an initial 10 trees.

Anyone who would like to find out more about volunteering to become an Environment Action Volunteer and to help catalogue the county’s trees should email

Gritting to keep our roads open

Come ice, snow or frost, Leicestershire County Council is prepared for winter, with 18,500 tonnes of salt stored in grit barns across the county ready for when temperatures start to fall.  Nearly half of the county’s network is gritted in response to harsh weather conditions – that’s around 1,300 miles of highway.

The grit is stored at barns in Melton Mowbray, Misterton, Mountsorrel, Market Harborough and Nailstone, where 23 gritters are ready to roll out when needed to keep the county’s roads moving.

In snowy conditions, there are also a number of snow wardens based in communities across the county who help grit paths. Farmers also get involved and, during deep snowfall, fit ploughs to their tractors and assist the council in clearing roads.

Keep up to date with the latest information on gritting and travel, including the county council’s interactive gritting map at .

Here, residents can also see advice on how to stay well this winter, and how they can get support for food and fuel costs.

And finally, I wish all readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.