Monday, 29 June 2020


There seems to be a misconception that Black Lives Matter means that white lives don't.
That is the only reason I can imagine that someone would think it is a good idea to fly a banner over a football stadium only minutes after all the players and staff took a knee in support of a movement asking only for equality.
It's not the 'Black Lives Matter More' Movement. It is simply that they matter.
George Floyd wasn't a one-off and don't kid yourself that it only happens thousands of miles away. It happens here.
In 1981, Yvonne Ruddock, a black 16-year-old, was celebrating her birthday until a fire put paid to the celebrations. She was one of 13 killed. In one line of inquiry the police treated the victims as suspects in the cause of their own deaths. Locally, many believed the fire to be the result of an arson attack. Two inquests returned an open verdict.
In 1985, the police shot and paralysed Cherry Groce in her own home in front of her children as they searched for her son, who no longer lived with her. A week later a police raid resulted in Cynthia Jarrett's death, another innocent black woman.
In 2011 musician Smiley Culture died during a police raid. An Independent Police Complaints Commission inquiry, the result of which was not made public, found that there were no grounds for criminal charges against the officers involved. Smiley's family said at the time they felt 'let down' by the inquiry.
This is not a definitive list, it is just a snap shot. This is reality for black people. Young black males are taught how to make sure they don't antagonise the police when they are stopped.
So, to the people who flew the banner over the Etihad… understand that black people want a level playing field, an equal chance. That is all. Not more than you, just the same opportunities as you.
You may have heard the phrase 'White Privilege' and been antagonised by it. Don't be.
It doesn't mean that you live in the lap of luxury and spend your life deciding which magnum of champagne you will have with your dinner. It means that life is tilted in your direction to such an extent that you probably don't even notice.
When you walk around the shops is it assumed you are a criminal? Do the police stop you regularly because you look suspicious? If you are black the answer is yes. Is it for you?
In your business what colour are the people who have the power? What colour are the people who make the decisions? What colour is the manager of your favourite football team? What colour is the owner of your favourite football team?
The chances are that the answers are probably white and if you are white it has probably never crossed your mind to give it much thought. Have a think about it now. That is white privilege.
Black Lives Matter is not an attack on white people. It is a cry for help.
It is a declaration that we won't take the current situation anymore. But nothing changes without the help of white people.

Our West Midlands National Park

Taking the term at face value is simply a wonderful way for us to promote our own Golden Green Triangle that already has the Clent Hills CP as the glorious climax as you move from the M5 westwards over the foothills, fields, woods, the Dowery Dell Adventure Trail and fishing pools to the Clent Hills and Wychbury Hill themselves.

It is another tool in the toolbox for us to use in insisting that this most important triangle is sacrosanct and available only for farming and recreation.  Nothing else!

On Friday, James Morris suggested to me that it might be an AONB.  That's fine with me if we can't get it with an even more important designation like a National Park reserve for the urban dwellers of the W Midlands.  Or, as the Clent Hills Regional Park.  Any such designation frightens off the greedy concrete, brick and tarmac brigade and helps our cause.

The people - ourselves - must hi-jack the term/phrase for our own ends and must make the two words, National Park, to mean exactly what it so blindingly obvious must mean or, should mean, at any rate.  A people takeover!

Any such talk like this bolsters up or talks up the high importance of our 32 sq Kms in the corridors of power for only farming and recreation.

Sunday, 28 June 2020

The future of our wasted railway line up the road in Netherton, next to your constituency, James

Dear James - and copied to Head of W Midlands Rail Executive, Malcolm Holmes - and Cllr Ian Ward (Google is not giving me Malcolm's email address at the moment, if Ian could please forward this to him, please.)  Thanks!

This may give you a useful briefing about what TfWM/WMCA is probably planning to do, like Manchester.

A member of Railfuture wrote to me to ask,
 "If it's going to be double (SELF: Metro light rail trams on double tracks) then how do they expect to be able to run heavy rail services along a frequently used tramline in the future?" 
The tram is double track but tram-trains enable them to get round the promise of heavy rail services:
"Light rail investment provides the basis for restoring heavy rail services at the appropriate time." (letter from Tom Magrath, Passenger Services Director, Centro in September 2000)!

If it looks like a tram, runs as slowly and stops as often as a tram, it must still be a tram.  Therefore, the tram-train is a tram and not a heavy rail train.  However, Metro trams and, presumably, tram-trains can cruise at 50 mph, I believe.  Ultimately, I think electric tram-trains will run between Worcester, Dudley town centre and Derby.  It will be much more expensive and much slower, from the outset, now, than putting faster, with their fewer stops, electric, hydrogen-powered trains through the Black Country to bypass congestion bottleneck Brum.  Far better to use electric buses for what we want electric trams to do.  My suggestions are much more financially responsible with lower greenhouse gas emissions.  Therefore, more money is left to extend free travel from all old people like me to all younger age groups.  Free as compensation for the greater infection risk in using public transport.  SEE:

Best wishes

Our farmers must flourish: - Charles and his missus at Tack (fortress) Farm

Dear Roy, Mick and Carole, Tony and Ed

No chance for the spare gate to replace the leaning stile and steps.  But it was really good to meet Charles and his wife, even if only to thank them for feeding us and to ask them not to sell up to make themselves millionaires!  This is what happened:

After no reply from the first, I had to drop off a second postcard to ask Charles if we had his permission to replace the wonky stile with a gate. I put it in the postbox and was about to write down their phone number when a great 4x4 approached from the farm.  From through the driver's window came, 
"You are trespassing on my land."
"Are you Mrs Bibbey?  I'm wanting permission to replace a broken stile with a self-closing metal gate."
"Write to him about it then."
"I have, two months ago and put the postcard in the postbox over there.  But I got no reply, so I've just put another in the box."
"Would you allow some stranger to come up your drive and trespass like you have on our property?"
" If you came to my home, I would welcome you with open arms and give you a cup of tea or coffee.  If you didn't want me to trespass, why didn't you put the postbox on the first or even the second gate that was locked, barred and barbed wired?  You've got it on this third gate.  The first had a stile.  At the second, I left the bike and climbed the gate with barbed wire wrapped around the top to get to the box to ... "
"All right.  Leave this to me", said Charles who had arrived on the scene and heard some of this.  Charles, cousin of Philip Bibbey at Oatenfields is different from Philip Bibbey or John Bibbey.  Mrs Bibbey drove on to turn round to go back to the farmhouse.  And yet,
"Charles, you were great in helping Roy Burgess with the footbridge three or four years ago.  You have helped us with keeping walkers to the paths and with gates in the past.  The old stile that is so difficult is the very last that now needs a gate.  It's the one to the right of that building in the distance, on the footpath that extends the golf range road south."
"I don't like these gates.  They are a nuisance and get blocked open.  I know.  I've had experience of walkers getting out of Uffmoor Wood onto my land.  I've caught 'em with wire cutters.  You can straighten the stile but you are not to put a gate there."
"OK.  All right.  Let me tell you this.  Mick Freer, Roy Burgess and I want you to farm the land to feed us and not to sell to greedy property developers to bring buildings and roads onto our Golden Green Triangle greenbelt.  You've got a wheat field over there, next to Uffmoor Wood and I've just seen two deer in it.  Walkers would never do that.  They go round the outside.  You are so important; you're essential to give Halesowen people our food, locally.  We respect you and want you to keep farming and to help us all to keep the land that is for all of us.  We have to share it and you are desperately important to protect it."

As I walked back down the road, Mrs Bibbey arrived once more driving away from the farm.  She let me go through the gate with the barbed wire wrapped around the top bar and I picked up the bike.  But her little daughter was filming me with her iPad or phone as I walked towards her.  In the big Chelsea tractor, Mrs Bibbey just managed to squeeze past me as I cycled quickly along the road to the last gate.  Her daughter photographed me again because they got to the gate first.  Mum didn't let me go through that one.  I had to lift the bike over the stile, and she drove through the gate after me onto Uffmoor Lane!

Tim Weller

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Sustainable development or ruinous growth?

What do you think?  Only if you're interested.

  1. The more we spend the more greenhouse gases are emitted.  Is that more or less right?  (Proviso: We are now getting more green electrons as renewables take off.)
  2. If you would never have voted for HS2, why are you sympathetic with the second most expensive transport mode to build after HS2?  That is, swish, smart, irresistible trams?  £15 billion to 2040 that will include underground trams, says WMCA.  To fuel and feed economic growth but what else?
  3. Should we only go for transport projects that are the best value for money in construction terms and entice the most motorists out of their cars for commuting to work?
  4. If old blokes like me can have totally free public transport after 9.30 am, why not you youngsters?
  5. Should regional bus and tram be free for all in compensation of the greater risk of Covid-19 transmission?
  6. Why not train, too?  Me and my ilk get it free, after all (very bad grammar, there!)
  7. Should the UN definition of sustainable development - "to further forms of progress that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs" - be all in important in the minds of us all and, even more so for our decision-makers?
  8. What's the failed phone got to do with it?!

from James O'Brien on Dominic Cummings

2 June 2020 from LBC

"On the 7th day of her illness Mary Wakefield accompanied her son to hospital in the ambulance. I understand her feelings about her child, but would it not have been appropriate for one of her nieces to take the child to hospital rather than risk the lives of NHS staff and patients. We are told that the reason for Cummings making the trip to Durham was so that his neices could take care of the child if required. Surely this would have been such a situation."
"The government have updated their Covid19 slogan: Stay Elite Control your story Save your career"

"66 mile roundtrip to a place of beauty with his wife and toddler in the car to check his eyesight, which btw happens to be his wife's birthday - all classed as legal and reasonable. Does this govt really think the British public is that thick??" 

"The public had a choice, elect a caring, thoughtful and righteous man or elect an adulterous, lying(proven) racist; you reap what you sow."

"So let me get this right. A man and his wife who live in London a highly infectious area of the UK, who both think they have COVID decide to drive 200 miles taking the virus with them ?"

"The letter from Eton College must have been released by a Johnson family member, who else could it have been? Nobody knows Johnson better than his family and they know as PM he's way out of his depth."

LETTER TO BORIS JOHNSON. You have managed to turn the Nation from a laughing stock into one that other Nations view with pity and disbelief. You and your hand-picked government of yes men (and women) have presided over and directly caused the deaths of many thousands of British people. You are a man of straw who opportunistically changed your politics to suit the mood of the majority that you yourself, unintentionally or otherwise created and influenced to become anti-EU, with your relentless, fabricated ridicule of the EU for years. You and your policies are directly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of precious NHS workers, each one of whom is worth more than you will ever be, what of them? Another empty round of applause, even a memorial or a minutes silence? That should take care of things, huh? Or is it "dulce et decorum est pro-patria Mori" eh Boris? After all, they are just minions, the ones who have to obey the rules. I was a life long conservative, I just hope I live long enough to see Keir Starmer take back control, and start to make Britain live up to its title of "Great" Britain, instead of trailing even the Third World with the "greatest" death toll.

"Cummings is on the SAGE committee and is chief advisor to the government. Their handling of the Covid-19 crisis has been consistently catastrophic.. That alone should be reason enough for him to be replaced but no, apparently he is too important."

"Thank you, James. Cumming's was responsible for the herd immunity policy at the start of this crisis and the UK lost 5 precious weeks. I still believe the hidden agenda is herd immunity, so long as the health service isn't overwhelmed. No one knows the true numbers of infected or recovered and we'll never know. All we can do is monitor the excess death rate. Cummings should be in court." 

"This man lied during the EU Referendum and never even acknowledged his lies. He supported Theresa May by stabbing her in the back. He has consistently avoided taking responsibility for anything that he was responsible for. He says that he didn't see the email from the EU inviting us to join together to obtain the necessary tests and PPE. He has appointed so many incompetent people to senior positions because those who are competent do not agree with him. He quite literally talks Greek and/or blusters when asked to respond to questions. The latest action in defending a self-centered fool for doing something that he expects everyone else in the country to do makes me feel sick to understand how he has managed to fool so many people for so long. I feel gutted that I do not believe that he will suffer for his misdeeds, incompetence, and selfishness other than to go down as the worse PM in the history of the UK. It is tragic indeed that he still has sufficient support within the conservative party to remain PM."

Friday, 26 June 2020

The need for the full 120 Kms railway rather than 10 Kms of trams

I have been arguing for working as near as possible to where you live since 1978 when I started working as a social worker in Sandwell at Haden Hill, one mile up the road.  I pointed this out when they moved me to Smethwick in 1982.  I was then contributing to more road congestion!
  1. The tram is being provided to get the railway service reinstated.  You told me, "So they are paying twice to get what they really want, the trains".  (Or, words to that effect.)  Do you remember telling me that in church a few years ago, Kev?  You were spot on!  I could not have put it better.
  2. If the authorities are spending half a billion pounds (£500 m) to improve the bus service by putting "bus on rails" trams on the road and railway over 10.7 Kms, would this indicate that they are confident it will be very well used and is badly needed?  I think the project/scheme is deeply immoral.
  3. Apparently, it was much needed to reduce road congestion in the 1980s and 90s.  Therefore, why was the promise of Cllr Fred Hunt, Leader of Dudley Council in telling me, in the mid 90s, that it would be up and running by the year 2000, not fulfilled?
  4. Yet, if they spent less than £200 m they would be able to put the commuter, regional and intercity trains back, plus nine stations on the whole missing 56 Kms of the middle section between Worcester and Derby. And, it would do an equally good job as the £500 m "bus on rails" tram in connecting Dudley with Merry Hill but also, that the tram does not do, connecting Stourbridge with Merry Hill.
  5. There would have to be an electric bus service from Dudley Castle Hill railway station, where the four big tourist attractions are, to take passengers up to the rundown town centre that is Dudley.
  6. Birmingham does not want passengers to miss out their city by some passenger trains bypassing Brum and going via our four Black Country boroughs.
  7. Yet, Grand Central that Worcester to Derby trains stop at, is one of the worst railway congestion bottlenecks in the UK, according to Peter Plisner on 'Midlands Today'.
  8. Do you think that some passengers between Derby and Devon might like to come via Dudley, as they did for 100 years until the 1960s?
  9. Did you know that railway passenger numbers have more than doubled since the mid-90s?
  10. Did you know that the transport experts have turned our urban railway lines into homes, shops, offices and roads since the 1960s?  About 100 Kms in the W Mids.
  11. Do you think that this might be the reason for road congestion on the M5 and M6?
  12. Might this be the reason for HS2?  That is, to increase capacity on our railway network that is overcrowded and, "a very Victorian railway"  (Sir David Higgins, Chief Exec, Network Rail on 'Today' 8 Jan 2013)

Thursday, 25 June 2020

James O'Brien on LBC

Robert Jenrick has come under fire for texting Richard Desmond, the businessman behind plans for a controversial development in east London, while preparing to decide whether to approve it.
James was most angry about trying to expedite the application before a new tax scheme came into force which would have cost Mr Desmond £45m, money that would have gone to Tower Hamlets, the poorest borough in London.
Speaking on his LBC show, James said: "Is there anything that would be a sackable offence in Boris Johnson's cabinet?
"If you're an aide, you can claim that you went for a 60-mile drive to get your eyes tested.
"If you're a Minister, you can conduct secret negotiations with a foreign government, get fired for it, but then get re-hired by this Prime Minister.
"And if you're a Housing Minister, it seems to me that you can expedite a development and overturn a decision by council and government planning inspectorate in order to save an extremely wealthy man about £45m.
"That money wouldn't have gone to a rival tycoon. It's £45m that would have made its way to the coffers of the poorest borough in London.
"The idea that that £45m being taken out of the coffers of the poorest borough in London really disgusts me."

Sunday, 21 June 2020


Because our W Midlands transport bosses are using only a tiny fraction of the 120 Kms principal mainline railway for trams, I cannot end my campaign.  Very inconvenient of them.  47.3 Kms is still left for something other than fresh air when every major structure for every motorway, main road, and all other roads and canals are built!

Our ancestors built a mainline railway of 120 Kms (74 mls) through the heart of the 1 mill population of the Black Country. The mothballed and still unused middle section is to get 6.7 Kms for Metro trams; and, 2 Kms for a Very Light Rail test track.
What do YOU want on the remaining 47.3 Kms that can be used for either:-

1. Extend the Metro trams over more than 6 Kms, a longer test track and, linear woodland (vital to sequester CO2), plus cycle-walkway to finish the 120 Kms ("of national strategic significance") railway on the 50 Kms without the "bus on rails" trams on 6 Kms.
2. Passenger trains returned to finish the 120 Kms ("of national strategic significance") railway on the 50 Kms without the "bus on rails" trams on 6 Kms.

END OF SURVEY - thank you!
MY PHOTOS: what you see described by one person as 'bizarre'; another called it 'bonkers':
Wasted 56 Kms from Stourbridge Jct to Burton on Trent on the ready built, but only half used, 120 Kms Worcester to Derby principal mainline railway:

Since the 1980s, the intention remains to fell these trees for an embankment/viaduct for the Metro tram when, 600m away, is the half-finished, half-used principal mainline railway that needs finishing and not wasted, unused and even destroyed in places:
When the 6 lane motorway opened in Dec 2003 with private money, it was half the estimated price per Km of Dudley tram construction that breaks up the 120 Kms intercity railway between Worcester and Derby. 
16 years have passed for metal thieves to pinch the up line.   It is taking an eternity and more to get the trains back because of Metro trams.  The authorities suggest using the railway bridge for an extended cycle-walkway.
Burton to Bristol via Brierley Hill; Derby to Devon via Dudley - by TRAIN not "bus on rails" trams as they are wanting; nor with new extended cycle-walkway, as volunteers are working o
ASSORTED PROPAGANDA- don't get corrupted:
W Mids Metro means a slower and longer journey for bus users and other road users.
It means more train overcrowding with trams being the second most expensive mode after HS2, diverting money away from reinstating TRAINS on railway lines.
More clogged streets and more changes on the Worcester to Black Country to Derby principal mainline railway.

£1.5 BILLION of Metro trams for five extensions to 2026 does NOT build a more sustainable society.
Metro tram billions add to austerity, to poverty and greenhouse gases to turn planet earth into uninhabitable venus, our 'twin' and sister planet.

Apparently, billions spent to boost greenhouse gases to get us out of the second most important international alliance after the UN, as the planet both burns and floods!!  The housing crisis, social care/NHS cuts, education cuts.  BUT, spending on armaments has gone up to 2% of GNP.  A negligent, incompetent and foolish government.  Nothing quite like ecocide, courtesy of the Queen and Her Majesty's Gone out of their mind, so called, 'government'!
Tim Weller   Declared Independent candidate for W Mids Metro Mayor 2021 to instil some urgency into how changes in transport, jobs and housing policy can reduce the impact of human climate breakdown and postpone Attenborough's "collapse of civilisations" and "extinction of much of the natural world" and "time is running out" warnings.
For a more sensible, cost-effective and easier ways to reduce congestion and pollution.  Fareless, electric buses for ALL; not for the few, like me!  To free up road space for essential users.  Paid for by abandoning Metro, diesel Sprint and CAZ.

The Virus Crisis shows what can be done for the Climate Crisis

I think, Simon is right to say 'Stop buying.' Except, when the authorities saw the looming virus coming ever nearer to the UK, they still did nothing to prepare. Not even buying PPE! Prepare for the Really Big Crisis now by spending on compulsory insulation; compulsory solar PV; carbon allowance/fuel rationing done on fair shares for all basis; one-child family planning encouraged; eastern Europe's Fare-Free Public Transport (and NOT only for me and my ilk) to compensate for greater risk from Covid; Universal Basic Income to ensure the wealthy help the less wealthy so that we are no longer dependant on spend, spend, spend economic growth. We cut economic activity to kill the virus - do it again for climate. WE HAVE THE ANSWERS!

Greta Thunberg has said that we can learn from the virus crisis: we are all taking the science seriously and the whole world is acting decisively. Do the same for the climate crisis.

And in killing nature with all our spending and yet more spending on big infrastructure projects like HS2, we end up killing ourselves because we are part of nature, too! You are both right.

Richard Worrall wants cycles and railway reinstatements

Dear friends

I do understand that point, Richard and thanks so much for engaging with me.

It is much easier to have cycle-walkways alongside slower tram lines, as we have for some of the 20+ Kms between Grand Central and Wolverhampton.  That was a small crumb of comfort that you conceded in the 1990s when you destroyed 3 or 4 Kms of perfectly good urban railway line and a principal mainline station!  However, the unfinished 56 Kms are a completely different kettle of fish.  It is the middle, forgotten, wasted but vital, unfinished part of the full 120 Kms between Worcester and Derby via the Black Country.  The full length should be having even intercity trains on it, to take the pressure off Grand Central and to help our four Black Country boroughs to also flourish, like Brum.  In forty years, why have you NEVER wanted that?  Only HS2 since 2009!

At the very least, it should be having commuter and regional trains on the whole length.  In that case, it is much more difficult to put cycle-walkways alongside a narrow corridor that has fast trains back.  Therefore, the 13 Kms between Walsall and Lichfield must have the TRAINS back as the top priority before cycles and walking.  Otherwise, you are continuing to waste a railway "of national strategic significance".

Do you all get that, now?

I have even walked the existing cycle-walkway on the former mainline railway and asked two or three walkers if they would be happy with having the trains back.  One person even remembered the trains and all were OK about it and understood that one day the trains would have to come back.

You all also need to see the whole picture.  That is, the full line of 120 Kms that has tens of millions of pounds already spent on it for TRAINS and not cycles!  Every bridge, underpass, tunnel and viaduct are already built for TRAINS and not cycles.  Please, just do the full 120 Kms for the one mode of TRAINS and do not break it up into two or even three different kinds of trams, with all the attendant changing between the modes.

You say you want TRAINS, Richard!  In that case, please stop faffing about with trams and tram-trains (still trams) and do what the expert Victorian railway engineers built the line for - for fast TRAINS.  You would then have money left over to put TRAINS on the remnant of railway lines that you and your colleagues have not yet destroyed by bizarrely thinking that homes, shops, offices, roads and trams must run on them.  And, to modernise our Victorian railway!

Your really top priority for cycling and walking, after the towpaths, is the major, strategic, essential for commuting, 22 Kms Black Country Cycle-Walk Mudway to be upgraded and made usable in even wet weather.

The state of this important superhighway is totally unacceptable - ESPECIALLY IN DUDLEY.
Tim Weller

Thursday, 18 June 2020

'Poacher's Pilgrimage'

AT PAGE 96, so far:
Very well written in the most superb English.  Great range of adjectives and metaphors, with often an entertaining style that makes for easy reading.  But you do need to skate over the Gaelic unless you are an expert or enthusiast for this language that I cannot make head or tail of!

He covers ecology, politics, theology, military ethics, history, archaeology, and a walk that poaches what?  I'll find out.  And a walk of well over 60 miles over twelve days.  Even then he has to rush on one afternoon to make sure that he picked up his bags before the Tarbert tourist office closed.  But he had battled with a bog monster, blamed for the rush.

Wednesday, 17 June 2020


I think we are all guilty of living unsustainably and, therefore, threatening all life support systems on earth.  The size of our homes and gardens, the size of our families, the kind of commuting and consuming we do and the holidays we take, all contribute to resource depletion, especially of finite fossil fuels and, highly dangerous greenhouse gases to bring climate catastrophe to end all life on earth.

I am very guilty of all this.  My land take and lifestyle means that if everyone lived like I do we would need three or four planets!  I’ll work it out from 

In fact, I need 2.1 planets and my overshoot day is 24 June.  I’ve probably biased it in my favour!

To compensate, I cycle instead of the car whenever I can; and, I used the bike for commuting and work visits before retirement.  I drive to 70 mpg, cut down on meat and dairy and v nearly never go abroad and certainly don’t fly - a big blown raspberry for that one.

To compensate, I am writing and working to open our English and Welsh 19th century railway network for trains or, as cycle-walkways.  I am working to maintain our footpaths in our 32 sq Kms Golden Green Triangle, bounded by M5, A456 and A491.  I continue to ask for it to be the first area to go in the 2019 announced W Mids National Park to prevent any built development on fresh land.  Land that must go only for farming and for recreation, as we are doing in lockdown.  I am trying to win over all our wonderful farmers/landowners not to sell their land for the false, fools gold of concrete, brick and tarmac.  Especially at Tack Farm that is so near to the bypass boundary that must not be breached.

Lockdown for all slashed the world’s greenhouse gases.  I think, to achieve the same bliss but to help those who suffered, governments have, as their first duty, the defence of the realm from civil unrest by protecting the worst off with:
  • a Basic Income scheme for all to cover food, clothing and shelter;
  • East Europe’s Fare Free Public Transport for all and not just for the disabled and over 60s, like me;
  • Carbon allowance for all to start rationing the calamitous burning of finite fossil fuels.
Learn from the UK’s disastrous laid back approach to the virus and prepare now for the inevitable Really Big Crisis we have been warned about for decades.
We cut economic activity to kill the virus.  We must now continue the good work of minimum economic activity in order to leave the planet’s life support systems able to support our descendants.

Join the buy less brigade and don’t head out to the shops.  Feet first to our footpath network, instead and lower your eco footprint!             

Tim Weller  17 June 2020

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

"Let's build new tram lines with routes where people want to go" - 'Inside Croydon' (only, please!!)

PLEASE FORWARD to Anthony and Stephen.  Everyone else please read, think and inwardly digest - to produce some creative answers for me.  Thanks.

Dear Anthony Norris-Watson and Stephen Spark

Why is it that only electric "bus on rails" trams can "take thousands of cars off our roads every day" but never electric buses linked into reinstated trains and stations?
"Bus on rails" trams was the description that Andrew Broddick of UK Trams Ltd gave on the 'Today' programme to help explain 62 injuries and 7 deaths on Croydon Tramlink in November 2016.
Why can only trams "relieve overcrowded existing routes" and not by making use of existing but wasted railway lines, with commuter trains, that would have avoided the tragedy in 2016?
Why only trams to "serve corridors where there is a high or rising demand" but never electric buses, linked into trains returned to existing railway lines, that would reduce the need for multiple changes?
Why is it always trams to "stimulate development in areas that suffer deprivation" like the four Black Country boroughs when its neighbour, Birmingham Grand Central station, remains "one of the worst railway congestion bottlenecks in the UK" - Peter Plisner,  BBC 'Midlands Today'.
Why is it always trams chosen to "duplicate existing public transport links"?
When "Funds will be tight in a post-Covid, post-Brexit environment", why only tram schemes when they are the second most expensive mode to construct after HS2 and have a higher accident rate than either bus or train?

When tram extensions are often ten times more expensive per Km to construct than putting diesel/electric trains back on even rebuilt railway lines (cf Borders Railway), why are they always chosen to duplicate, replace and make for even more multiple changes between bus, train and tram?
Why are "bus on rails" trams chosen over commuter, regional and intercity trains on two short sections of a half-finished, 120 Kms principal, mainline railway "of national strategic significance"?

There are proposals and, active plans now being implemented, for three different kinds of trams over four short sections of this nationally important, partly finished railway!!  Pre Metro shuttle tram, Very Light Rail tram and Light Rail tram.
Why complicate public transport travel in this way?

Why cannibalise unused railway lines for tram lines?  And, leave many miles of unused railway lines wasted for more decades or forever!
Has no one thought of trains for train lines that have not yet been used for the bizarre, eccentric activity of running homes, offices, shops and roads down them?
Complete amateurs have rebuilt entire railway lines.  Why can't the professionals put TRAINS BACK on existing, entire, already built railway lines?

Friday, 12 June 2020

Duplicate the speed signs on the westbound carriageway of A456, Manor Way for eastbound, too

Dear James

I would like to see signs on the A456, Halesowen Bypass eastbound carriageway to bring speeds progressively down as vehicles approach the Grange roundabout. This would be very much safer because of the pedestrian crossing from Waxland Road/Broadway Avenue.

It would also reduce the cocktail of poisonous gases our vehicles spew out and, also to reduce highly dangerous greenhouse gases. Westbound A456 has 50, then 40 signs approaching the Grange roundabout that most drivers comply with. The same should be done on the eastbound, too because of more corona walkers on their daily exercise needing to cross at the Waxland Road crossing of the bypass.

Please act urgently.

Many thanks


Thursday, 11 June 2020


THE TOP FIVE EASY, OBVIOUS MEASURES:  Cutting greenhouse gases means cutting expenditure on everything except spending on the 101 measures that will reduce finite fossil fuel expenditure eg:

  • insulating every building,
  • PV solar on every E, W, S roof,
  • Fare-Free Public Transport in the W Mids for the rest of the population (not just the 60s and over like me),
  • returning railway passenger trains to the 106 Kms of railway lines that have not been converted to other uses (ie, no longer used for buildings or trams or roads or cycle-walkways or woodland),
  • household carbon allowance (like council tax) to cut world and national travel.

ASK ME for 'My ten points West Midlands plan for the new Government' or, 'How to start preparing for a fossil fool free life without finite fossil fuels'.

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

to John Davison

9 May 2020

Thanks, John for sending this to me.

My view is that the virus crisis is a foretaste of a greater tragedy and disaster to come unless we think, plan and prepare, now for The Really Big Crisis, ie the complete breakdown of our life support systems from rising greenhouse gases and rising temperatures to copy what happened to venus.  ("Because the bulk of its atmosphere is made of carbon dioxide, an extreme greenhouse effect is warming the surface of Venus." SOURCE:  Attenborough's warnings, below the coloured paragraphs, will then be fulfilled, I fear.

Hence, the situation is urgent to 'Build Back Better' and to try and retain individual, group and national reductions in greenhouse gases that we are seeing, now from lockdown.  Household carbon allowances might help to keep these gas emissions down.  A more acceptable phrase than rationing of fossil fuels that, of course, it amounts to.

Rationing of fossil fuels is urgent and must be done fairly and quickly.  But how, exactly?  Ration cards/coupons for motorists were printed and sent out during the energy crisis and three day week over 1973 to 1974 (Andrew Marr: 'A History of Modern Britain', pub 2007, page 340 to 341).  It must be done again.

  • Prepare for the climate crisis with PV everywhere to provide electricity for the building and cars below.
  • Retrofit every building with insulation and efficiency measures to reduce the demand for electricity.
  • Digital and working from home as much as possible.  Maximise phone and Zoom working.
  • Rediscover cycling and walking with cycle-walkways renovated and made upmarket to encourage their use.  Try out stages 1 and 2 of the Dowery Dell Trail - 6 Kms on, or next to, the Halesowen Railway line to Longbridge.  Adventure walking at its best (and hairiest!) and, right on our doorstep!
  • Listen and act on Lord Stern - the future is low carbon economies.  "Don't turn the clock back to the dirty fragile times."
  • Don't bail out the airlines.  Discourage travel and redeploy their workers to slash fossil fuel use in every building in the land.
  • Go for fare-free public transport (FFPT) - the brainchild of Bob Whitehead.
  • Scrap big infrastructure schemes like HS2, the railway equivalent of Concorde.  Build the 24 railway projects chosen last year in the Great British Transport competition of the Taxpayers' Alliance.
  • Scrap Midland Metro "bus on rails" trams - the bus equivalent of HS2 and, when it comes to construction, the 2nd most expensive transport mode after HS2 and 2 to 3 times more expensive per Km than motorway building.  Just electrify the buses to avoid the childish obsession with Metro glitz, glam and gold to rack up greenhouse gases.
  • Bring in annual household carbon allowances to restrict flying, travel and commuting.
  • Bring in basic income or citizens' income for all to allow the Gospel/Christ teaching of the parable of the talents.
  • Shop for what you genuinely need rather than shop 'til you drop.  Make stuff last.
  • Economics to serve ecology.  Nature before economics.  Learn from the more successful civilisations of the past.


Dear Nick - Nick Wallis and Alan Bates are the two heroes

My wife and I have just watched your Panorama film and heard all ten programmes on Radio 4.  We think the top people in the Post Office who lied, covered up, were thoroughly dishonest and dishonourable should all be prosecuted.  When found guilty of abuse of power and incompetence and illegality, don't send them to prison but have them pay large amounts from their immoral earnings to each postmaster who was wrongly prosecuted, indeed persecuted by them.  An average of £20,000 each is not nearly enough for what they have been through.

Now, my national scandal rivals your truly Great Post Office Scandal!  But you do deserve a good long rest.  Anyway, see what you think.  If you can help me, too it would be superb, Nick.

  1. This scandal lies in the number of casualties from tram accidents.  Croydon in November 2016:-  This morning, I discovered this when I studied the Ordnance Survey map online.  The north-south disused railway to the east of Sandilands tram stop was used for the tram.  The sharp curve  (called Sandilands Junction) was created to take trams on and off the railway line.  If the commuter trains had been put back, with the money saved used for electric buses linking to train arrivals and departures, seven people would still be alive today.  Some of that railway line is still wasted to this day.
  2. Railway lines destroyed for buildings of every kind, for roads and garden/landscape schemes.
  3. Railway lines taken over by trams and then the lines not used for the trams are then unused, wasted and lost forever.
  4. This has resulted in worse road congestion and train overcrowding as railway passenger numbers have doubled over the last 25 years.
  5. As a result, more finite fossil fuels burnt and greenhouse gases emitted.
  6. That is the exact opposite direction that they must go in for us all to build a safer world that will sustain life on earth.
  7. Business costs are adding up to many billions of pounds from added congestion that could have been relieved if this transport infrastructure had been used instead of lost, obliterated, permanently.
  8. 40 years of tram networks being rebuilt has meant that those seven authorities that have gone for trams have given a much lower priority to reopening train lines for trains.
  9. 60 years of railway lines being bulldozed or built on is a most serious scandal.
  10. This is a nationwide problem of waste of good transport infrastructure, of injuries and death from accidents and, wrong priorities.
  11. 24 railway schemes remain for finishing, improvement, modernising here.  Page 16 is my preoccupation:
The Shameful Seven:
Manchester Metrolink
Sheffield Supertram
Blackpool Trams
Nottingham Express Tram
West Midlands Tram
Croydon Tramlink
Edinburgh Trams

"Of a total sixty-nine passengers, there were seven fatalities and sixty-two injured, nineteen of whom sustained serious injuries."
"Driver error was found to be the cause of the accident.[3]"
"Regulations applying to trams were similar to those applying to buses."
"The investigation also found that trams were not as safe as the ORR previously thought, having a higher accident rate than other rail transport and also buses and coaches.[43]"   Wikipedia


Throughout the post-war decades, both the railway trade unions and the railway lobbying groups have fully co-operated with the authorities and transport planners, nationwide in this:

Thinking that there was no further use of railway lines when the bosses and politicians, NOT Richard Beeching, decided to close and permanently finish with the lines Beeching only closed in the 1960s.

Best wishes