Monday, 31 May 2021


When it comes to understanding the true nature of Net Zero by 2050, I have one huge request: could everybody please stop flourishing their particular ‘get out of jail free’ cards – whether that’s a nuclear card, or a hydrogen card, or a 100% renewable electricity (100% RE) card.

There are no get out of jail free cards. We’re trapped in an energy-intensive way of life, driven by frenetic consumerism, causing massive damage to both people and the planet, and putting at risk the very future of humankind. There is no energy-based solution to this meta-impasse: the only way we’ll avoid an accelerating slide into civilisational collapse is by transforming that suicidal way of life.

Energy is a sub-system of that much bigger economic system – though it is, to be sure, the most important sub-system. And the most important aspect of that sub-system is EFFICIENCY.

Whatever combination of supply-side options we may have settled on by 2050, it’s the efficiency with which we acquire and use every one of those units of energy which matters most – not whether those units are renewable, nuclear or hydrogen.

Sunday, 30 May 2021

"The region must recognise the right of Israel to exist" Biden on 22.5.21

But that is not the issue.  The West makes so much of it but it is a sideline to the real matter of injustice, oppression and keeping the Palestinians subjugated.  Under the heel of the Israelis.  Just like the Israelis were, over 2,500 years ago, when they were enslaved by the Egyptians.

To Severn Trent and CEO Liz Gregory

Will you please start the repair tomorrow at SY5 8HY. The water started pouring down the road last week. This is best quality drinking water that is being wasted when a House of Commons committee reported last year that there will be shortages of drinking water by 2040. You state, "We're now working to get the problem fixed.

"We're currently working to fix a general water supply issue at an off road location, SY5 . Our repair work will start by 16/06/2021. Our team will be working hard to make sure it's fixed as soon as possible."

The more water is wasted, or just used, the more finite fossil fuels are exhausted to make life more difficult for all of us well before the end of the century, I would have thought.  Your company is showing lethargy and complacency in refusing to show any understanding whatsoever of the problem we are up against:- human induced climate disaster and severe shortages as we stubbornly refuse to acknowledge the problems.  WHY THE REFUSAL TO ACT TO HELP IMPROVE OUR PROSPECTS?

Saturday, 29 May 2021

The very last of Dudley's railways bites the dust!

Please explain, Simon why you put the BCIMO VLR centre on the UKs last, mothballed, half finished, mainline railway!!

Since 2014, I was advising the authorities to use the site at Moor St, Brierley Hill and the 3 Kms Pensnett line for the test track. Far more sensible, don't you think? I told Nick Mallinson, too but no-one listened. Yet another transport tragedy.

And, I was lied to that Metro "LR would provide the basis for restoring HR services at the appropriate time." (letter 18 Sept 2000 from Tom Magrath, Centro's Passenger Services Director)

And, where is the illusory, fake "passive provision" from MD Laura Shoaf, that we were all so glibly promised in the 'Midlands Today' TV interview with Peter Plisner? Another scam.

Quite disgraceful behaviour from you all, when I expected honesty, integrity and the highest standards. Buck your ideas up.

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Rails for Recovery webinar by Midlands Connect

Little chance of asking a question but we can select, copy and paste into the chat column, if there is one.  You have a better chance than me because I am known to them, so get in quick!

I will copy and paste these questions.  Or, would you like to?  Or, take your pick?:
  1. A couple of years ago, why was Midlands Connect and the Black Country Chamber of Commerce united in starting a campaign for the 87 Kms Western Orbital Motorway to be built but not for the passenger and freight trains to finish the ready built but only half used, 120 Kms Worcester, Black Country, Derby mainline railway?
  2. Why no 'Rails for Recovery: Upgrading Worcester-Black Country-Derby route'?
  3. Why do you support the installation of Metro trams on our railway network?
  4. Is the railway industry competent to complicate their working lives with double running or track sharing by having trams, commuter and freight trains, tram-trains and train-trams?
  5. How does HS2 release capacity on the railway network when you will still need the existing intercity trains because HS2 stops at such few stations?
  6. Why has the common practice of running freight and passenger trains on the same lines been abandoned on 106 Kms in the West Midlands?  And for many decades, too!

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

1st anniversary of BLM and George Floyd

Black lives DO matter so very much, along with all those 248 Gazans, including 65 children and 12 Israelis from last week. 73 years of violence and injustice and STILL the deaths don't matter.

Black lives have never mattered for the West.  My ancestors are responsible for centuries of slavery and for collecting those lands they chose to take in colonial endeavour.  Whites chose to be dominant and to be domineering in their exploration, trading and sheer piracy on the high seas to set a most disgraceful and wicked example.

Blacks chose to be content with their own lands much more than us whites.  We whites still like to think we matter more.  But it exposes our racism, superiority and supremacy that led to wars around the world and the theft of people and resources.  Not very nice attributes!

Hamas is the direct result of Israeli settler-colonialism, Israeli meddling, and the rage of Palestinian people at decades of oppression and dispossession and living under the boot of the Israeli military.

"The region must recognise the right of Israel to exist" Biden on 22.5.21

But that is not the issue.  The West makes so much of it but it is a sideline to the real matter of injustice, oppression and keeping the Palestinians subjugated.  Under the heel of the Israelis.  Just like they were about 2,500 years ago when they were enslaved by the Egyptians.

Did the Palestinians, do they still, play into the hands of Israel?


Hamas is the direct result of Israeli settler-colonialism, Israeli meddling, and the rage of Palestinian people at decades of oppression and dispossession and living under the boot of the Israeli military.
Creating a Frankenstein monster

Like Frankenstein’s monster in Mary Shelley’s famous novel, Israel unleashed a beast that it eventually could not contain. The rise of Hamas, however, should not be seen as an entirely negative thing for Israel. Rather, it has provided its government and supporters with a convenient excuse for its misdeeds. Its massacres in Gaza, for instance, get excused with retorts that Gaza’s people “elected a terrorist organization”. Attacks on civilian targets get explained away with claims that they were ‘harboring Hamas terrorists’. And so on…

At the same time though, it is important to keep in mind that while Hamas has grown much more powerful than Israel ever hoped or imagined, it is still nowhere near being a serious military threat to Israel. After all, Israel has the most powerful military in the entire Middle East along with generous backing from the most powerful country in the world, the US. As The Canary has previously reported, Israel is in fact the largest cumulative recipient of US aid since World War II.

So Israel derives a double benefit from Hamas: it can use it as a justification for practically anything, while at the same time it faces no serious military threat from Hamas’ existence. And as the dust settles over the latest escalation of violence against Gaza’s population, it is worth reminding ourselves of this reality again.

Gaza last week; Belarus this.

Last week, the West killed 248 Gazans of whom 65 were children; and the Gazans killed 12 Israelis.

This week, again, all hell has broken out with very real shock horror over the hi-jacking of a passenger plane to detain a Belarus opposition leader and journalist.

I kind of feel that there has been more reaction to these stunning events than yet more unequal slaughter in the Holy Land.

Asymetric warfare last week; asymetric reaction this week.

To Ridhi Kalaria re 22 Kms Black Country Cycle-Walk Mudway

Dear Ridhi

Much rejoicing yesterday BUT ....

It was good to see you on 'Midlands Today' yesterday evening.  However, when will Sustrans respond, let alone take seriously, the little matter of the Midlands major, 22 Kms Black Country Cycle-Walk-Horse Mudway being a scandalous waste of a vital resource? 

It is a disgrace that it is not being used for its intended purpose as a business, commuter and leisure route.  When will you act?

It is shameful that I have been writing about the negligence of all of you at Sustrans, over this matter, in recent years.  But nothing is ever done.  I rarely, if ever, get a reply!  I was once told that you had no money and was dependant on the authorities for funding that was never forthcoming.  So fight for it, then!

It is a scandal that even OS maps declare it as an important 'traffic free' cycling and walking route but the actual shocking, waterlogged and, muddy state prevents everyone but the most committed from using it.  Walkers need boots or wellies and only the mudlarks of Stourbridge Cycling Club and the fuming, dirt motorbikes can ever use large sections of it in Dudley.

You have still not got round to naming it as a National Cycle Route and giving it a number.  This is basic.  So obvious it should not need me to have to tell you!

I would be glad of your urgent attention to this matter, now - please.

Best wishes

Tim   (Weller)

Monday, 24 May 2021

Direct Message to Adam Tranter

You are doing a brilliant job, Adam. Well done on the parklet and shame on the council. Please could you help us over in the far west is worst of the W Mids with our business, commuter and leisure route, 22 Kms of traffic-free, THE WONDERFUL the Black Country Cycle-Walk-Horse MUDWAY extraordinary. It runs between Brierley Hill and NW Wolverhampton. 3 nature reserves and 2 cafes in former railway stations on 2 disused railway lines.

Sunday, 23 May 2021

Midlands Connect Team - RAILS TO RECOVERY but not for the Black Country Railway

Dear Midlands Connect Team

Thanks so much for this clarification.  However, I am still befuddled!

Why, after 25 years of rising passenger numbers on our railways, is there still no consideration being given to 'RAILS TO RECOVERY: UPGRADING OF THE DERBY - DUDLEY - DEVON RAILWAY'?  In particular, the wasted section of 56 Kms, still available, ready built but, unused between Burton on Trent and Stourbridge Junction?

Why is the railway industry, with the full support of the unions, Midlands Connect and DfT/HMG, turning our railways into tram lines in yet more of the Black Country?

We could have had a much-improved service, years ago, between Shrewsbury, Brum and London if you had all chosen TRAINS instead of trams for the Snow Hill Sta to Wolverhampton railway line.  Platform 4 has been unused since 2016 when the tram extension connected Grand Central and bypassed Snow Hill Sta.  As you must know, there is a tunnel connecting Snow Hill and Moor Street on the London line!

It is all very perplexing for my small brain - actually, nonsensical!
Thanks so much for writing.  Please write again and attempt to explain what does seem completely indefensible, illogical and a very serious oversight for 25 years.

Best wishes

Round Oak signal box razed to the ground!

The tunnel had two tracks, as a mainline railway, on the three occasions I walked through it!  The first was in the 1990s, in a small FoE protest, to raise awareness of the neglect and to highlight its importance.  Railtrack (or its equivalence - BR?) saw the newspaper report of what we were planning to do and insisted that we must have a delegation of two of their men from Railtrack/BR!  We all trooped through the 800 metres and back again.  It did not make the slightest difference, of course!

The 90s was the decade that the Round Oak signal box was left unlocked and my young son and I went up the outside steps into the room with all the great levers.  Shortly afterwards, I returned and saw that it had been razed to the ground in a fire!  I complained/commented to a man from the railways at Centro House at the close of a meeting.  He knew and shrugged his shoulders, as if he didn't care.  No one does!

Saturday, 22 May 2021

Deception and multi-modal mix up by Tram/Transport HQ!


ROADS TURNED INTO RAILWAYS WITH TRAMS MUSCLING IN TO ADD TO THE CHAOS - Broad Street, Hagley Road and, no more Five Ways underpass, ever again for buses!

Lies and a little deception by a journalist to get a TV interview, only took 25 years to be uncovered.

After 60 or 70 years of losing transport infrastructure, turned into homes, roads, buildings of every description - and tramlines, no one lifts an eyebrow of surprise!

99% of people and every journalist are unmoved by the decades of not just closing railway lines but of failing to mothball them in case of future use.  Hence their conversion to everything but the kitchen sink.

Very nearly everyone feels it is acceptable to destroy over 100 Kms of West Midlands railway lines.

But, is it acceptable for Transport for West Midlands to say that "light rail investment provides the basis for restoring heavy rail services at the appropriate time"?

Is it perfectly normal for top TfWM officers to put it about that the magic of "passive provision" will enable passenger, freight trains and stations to return to a mainline railway once "bus on rails" trams have taken it over?

Israel, Palestine, Gaza and the Good Samaritan

Israel and the West should be like the good Samaritan but instead are they like the priest, or the Levite, or the robber, or the victim, or none of the above?

So many Christian believers support right-wing leaders like Benjamin Netanyahu with their total inability to understand that perhaps a little understanding, conciliation and sharing of land and resources might be a  very good idea.  From all of them, we just see more of the same hatred, fear and the trotting out of, 'Well, our enemies want to wipe us off the face of the earth, so we are in no way going to let them do that because we will wipe them off the face of the earth, first!'  Extraordinary!

The state of Israel and their Christian supporters, really do think that Hamas, Fatah, and the Arabs will drive them into the sea unless they do expand their settlements into the Occupied Territories on the West Bank.  They think that unless they do fight and kill even more ferociously than the Arabs, it is they who will have their state overthrown.

Hamas does want to replace Israel with an Islamic state but this is so far-fetched it should not be given so much credence by Israel.  Both sides must compromise and learn to live in peaceful co-existence.  Instead, the people with so much are after even more and, the people with so little get even less.  Exactly what Jesus once said!

The Jewish rabbi, Jesus of Nazareth showed the way forward in his story of the Good Samaritan.  In modern dress, my pastor once told me that he thought that Israel could be seen as the robber and the Palestinians as the man beaten up.  In the story, the hero is the enemy of the Jews, for 800 years and the two official Jewish leaders are put in a very bad light indeed - a story told by one of their own Jews!  But, the story is all about loving your neighbour, loving your enemy and being generous to a complete stranger and, possibly, your nation's (or tribe's) traditional enemy for 800 years.

The lessons for today are so obvious!  But so very difficult.  Hence, we perish as fools rather than living as brothers of one human family.

Not rewilding but simple maintence of their existing responsibilities - PLEASE!

The councils' higher priority for spending should be to do something about their lack of maintenance and replacement of footbridges and stiles on public paths that are leading to bridges being closed and paths off-limits to some. Some really rickety, dangerous stiles mean that we OAPs are losing the right to roam. My days of river swimming to get across are over, too!!

Deception, dishonesty to get their Metro trams




"The BBC (Martin Bashir) used deception to get their (his) 1995 scoop." 'Today' on 22 May 2021

Birmingham's Transport HQ used deception to get their Metro trams on the UK's last, principal, mothballed, mainline railway from Derby to Devon via Dudley.
  1. Deception in insisting, for over 20 years, that "Light rail investment (trams) provides the basis for restoring heavy rail services (trains) at the appropriate time."  Tom Magrath, Passenger Services Director, Centro, 18 September 2000.
  2. Deception in 'Midlands Today' interview that "passive provision" would be built in to the tram works on the mainline railway.  Only some bridges are being strengthened for track sharing or double running.
  3. Improper influence with the national tram promotion group, UK Tram Ltd, sharing the same building as Transport for W Midlands and the Combined Authority - 16 Summer Lane.
  4. Most misleading to suggest that trams will become tram trains that will make them suitable for the run from Derby to Devon via Dudley.

Thursday, 20 May 2021

Dudley Castle Hill Tunnel

The tunnel had two tracks, as a mainline railway, on the three occasions I walked through it!  The first was in the 1990s, in a small FoE protest, to raise awareness of the neglect and to highlight its importance.  Railtrack (or its equivalence - BR?) saw the newspaper report of what we were planning to do and insisted that we must have a delegation of two of their men from Railtrack/BR!  We all trooped through the 800 metres and back again.  It did not make the slightest difference, of course!

The 90s was the decade that the Round Oak signal box was left unlocked and my young son and I went up the outside steps into the room with all the great levers.  Shortly afterwards, I returned and saw that it had been razed to the ground in a fire!  I complained/commented to a man from the railways at Centro House at the close of a meeting.  He knew and shrugged his shoulders, as if he didn't care.  No one does!

Greater Than Ever British Railways announced


Today, 20 May 2021, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said Britain’s railways were built to “forge stronger connections” and provide “an affordable, reliable and rapid service”, but passengers have been failed by “years of fragmentation, confusion and over-complication”.

Exactly what TfWM is still doing, for us with our train and bus services being broken up into Sprint, LR, VLR and ULR to make for more changes, delays and a slower public transport journey.

Should we be fragmenting our transport provision into regular bus, super-duper bus, trains, trams that are either LR, VLR or, ULR? Instead, extend regional Fare-Free Public Transport from OAPs like me to all you young, bright things. That is true levelling up and social justice.

We have been failed by decades of laughable incompetence, as here:

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

This week's challenge from our really royal Prince Charles to Charles Bibbey!

Thank you for your email that I thought bore little relation to mine!  Mine of the 12 May was asking if you would be so good as to ask your client, Charles if he would be willing to have either a woodland or hedgerow creation scheme if I was to pay!  Monday's national Radio 4 news mentioned Prince Charles wanting his mother's Platinum jubilee next year to be a tree-bilee to get more trees planted.

My email was nothing about " due diligence" or, it affecting your client, or my having access.
It was nothing about dear Charles being inconvenienced in any way at all!
It is up to Charles to "progress my proposal", with help from the Woodland Trust, if he wishes!
Do check out my email, again.

I think you were thrown by my sheer generosity!  But it was also to do with you top people and Charles being like Prince Charles and being loyal to merry England and the Queen.  Our VIPs, like B Johnson Esq wish us to treble tree cover in the UK and Her Majesty wants her Platinum Jubilee next year to be a tree Jubilee or tree-bilee.

Do ask our own, only a little less royal, Charles to do some quality tree planting or hedgerow creation at my expense.  It would be entirely of his own volition, as you say - of course.  But if he took up the suggestion he would be a most loyal subject.  Her Majesty might be so proud of him, he could be in the offing for a knighthood!

Best wishes

Scandalous, corrupt expenditure hardly exits ecocide!

Metro is coming to slow the public transport journey from Stourbridge into Brum city centre.  Either stay on the bus for a longer, slower route all round the Wrekin, with more exhaust emissions or, change for the tram at Edgbaston Village tram stop and wait up to 15 mins for a tram to take you the rest of the way.

On top of that, with these hefty crash barriers, not a single bus can continue to use the underpass and all eleven bus routes must join the rest of the queuing traffic to go round the roundabout:-

Pathetic public transport worsened at £75 m/Km for the deception perpetrated, all style over substance, Hagley Road tram.

£7 m/Km for the 50 Kms rebuilt Borders Railway in 2015 in the Southern Uplands of Scotland.
£21 m/Km for the 43 Kms M6 Toll greenfield motorway in Dec 2003.
£133 m/Km for the 1.7 Kms Eastside Metro tram extension now being built.

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

£133 m/Km is scandalous; £7 m/Km to rebuild Borders Railway in 2015

"The £227m Birmingham Eastside extension will be approximately 1.7km in length and will run from Bull Street, in the city centre, to Digbeth, adding four new tram stops to the Metro network. More than half of the route is planned to be free of overhead wires, similar to the recently opened extension from Grand Central to Centenary Square. Utility upgrades and diversions for the scheme began in 2020 and construction in Lower Bull Street is also set to begin next month."

MMA website, 18 May 2021

Israel has the LOT; their neighbour has NOTHING!

Every effort to quell the upstarts for 73 years has failed.  It shows that taking land by force is not a good idea.  It comes back to haunt you for 73 years.

"If you have to keep going to make sure, ("to restore calm" as Netanyahu has said today) so that stuff doesn't happen again, why does it keep happening again?" Democratic Congressman Andy Levin from Michigan.  "There is no ultimate victory against terrorism.  You have to end the ground that it grew in", he said on 17 May 2021.

All that is left is to try sharing, even land as equally as possible, and as being as nice as the 'wicked', 'nasty' Good Samaritan in the most amazing story I have ever read in Luke 10!  The enemy turned out to be the true friend by being humane, compassionate and generous.  And, to a complete stranger of whom we know nothing and whose race (but not that of the two passers-by!) was completely immaterial to the storyteller from Nazareth ("a self-hating Jew" say some Jews, of some of their more conciliatory compatriots).

Both lots are children of Abraham who have fallen out, big time, over a misnamed Holy Land.

Revenge is so sweet.  The hostile environment lasted 800 years between Jews and Samaritans.  Less than 80, so far, between the top, Judeo-Christian world and the rest of poor, heaving humanity at the bottom of the Palestinian pile.

To Climate Action Network W Midlands

Dear Simbi

Thanks for the email.

My climate action for the G7 and COP 26 is a mass (more than just me!) letter/email/text/twitter - writing and phoning campaign to names and addresses here
and many others - to climate educate that, in burning our finite supply of fossil fuels we have unsuspectingly released a Pandora's Box of unintended consequences and horrors. We must now live much more lightly on the planet to minimise travel and maximise simpler lifestyles. "To tread more lightly on the planet" as Jonathon Porritt wrote many decades ago!

Spending = fossil fuels burnt = greenhouse gases emitted = the natural greenhouse effect dangerously enhanced = a runaway greenhouse effect that venus has = THE END! (venus is hotter than mercury even though mercury is nearer the sun)

Therefore, billions of greenhouse gases for extensions to HS2 (£106 bn), Metro (£15 bn), Sprint (£1 bn) is not a good idea when that money should be used, now, to cut greenhouse gases in the medium to long term and not make things even worse - and quite unnecessarily, too!

Or, am I completely wrong, mistaken, deluded? Is there anyone, out there, who agrees with me?!


Thanks, Paul for this and your other email, I've read.  VERY RARELY do I get a reply from anyone else - hint, hint to the apathetic, acquiescing, indifferent VIPs!  Almost no one is at all bothered - all are in self-destruct mode!

My work now is to educate the BCIMO over their destruction of the ready-built, but only half used, Derby to Devon via Dudley railway - and, of course, our darling politicians and the other 'experts' and 'VIPs' who have let us all down so badly in destroying every single railway line in the Black Country, apart from the West Coast Main Line and the Jewellery line!

In addition, LR, VLR, ULR all add to our multi-modal, mixed-up transport that bring more changes, delays and a worse public transport journey (Ultra Light Rail/Stourbridge Shuttle does not).  All three unnecessarily contribute to greenhouse gas emissions from the construction of steel for the tracks and yet more deadly greenhouse gases from cement manufacturing.

We are now wrecking life support systems further by mining the ocean floor for the rare metals to go into battery manufacturing.  This is another reason for the urgent need to minimise travel and to use our finite resources simply to live more simply and, out of regard for our descendants!

Best wishes

Corbyn supporting the economics of equality and justice

"I am proud that in Parliament and outside that we will, forever, continue the cause of socialism for social justice and for a society based on the needs of all rather than the greed of a few."

Monday, 17 May 2021

We have every right to ask for more trees and hedges ...

 ... without fear that it can be turned against us in some way.

CLIMATE EDUCATION to improve the bumpy road for our descendants:
Woodland, as a climate emergency measure, for unused farmland will make it more difficult for it to be turned into concrete, brick or tarmac.

Hedges, to mitigate climate instability, and hedgerow maintenance are vital as we see some neglected and, more fencing and barbed wire taking over.  There are subsidies for landowners to put in hedges.
Point them to:

One local landowner has created a new wood.  I will ask, at Illey House Farm and at Illeybrook Farm, if it was one of them or, who it was, in the coming days.  That is setting a brilliant example and shows what can be done.

Please write and/or visit/phone, to ask for woodland and hedgerow creation to your councillors, MP, Metro Mayor Andy Street and, especially, ask our farmers and landowners, like:

  1. Philip Bibbey, 472 Bromsgrove Rd, Hunnington, Halesowen B62 0JL  Philip is sympathetic to walkers and helped us with the latest walkers' gate near the R Stour on a permissive footpath over his land.
  2. Mr Charles Bibbey, Tack Farm, Uffmoor Lane, Halesowen, West Midlands, England, B62 0NP.  When writing, thank Charles for helping with the new, magnificent footbridge that Roy Burgess and volunteers built a few years ago.
  3. Mrs Sue Tudor, Manor Abbey Farm, Manor Way, Halesowen B62 8RJ  Some years ago, Chris Tudor allowed English Heritage to take over guardianship, or the care, of the Abbey and Infirmary that can be viewed from the public right of way.  Thank her for that!
  4. Mr John Bibbey, Breach Farm, Bromsgrove Rd, Hunnington, Halesowen B62 0JS  John is also sympathetic to walkers and welcomes caring walkers on our public rights of way.
  5. Mrs Lisa Window-Walker, Horsepool Farm, 164 Bromsgrove Rd, Hunnington, Near Halsowen, Worcestershire, B62 0JX.  She told me of problems; I was horrified and expressed my dismay.  But, there is no harm in us all asking for woodland or hedgerow creation and path improvement.
  6. Adam Bayliss, Hollies Farm, Bromsgrove Rd, Hunnington, Halesowen B62 0JU  Adam and son, Harry put in two new wooden stiles on the public path that crosses the Halesowen Railway on the near, N side of the old viaduct site at Dowery Dell.  Thank them for that, please.  Much new fencing has gone up.
  7. Dan Tate, Hunnington Farm, 143 Bromsgrove Rd, Halesowen B62 0JX  Dan, in welcoming caring walkers, has fenced us in.  However, he did put in a stile, too.  I have asked if he would cut the hedge to allow walkers to continue to use the penned in path over the years.
  8. Dove House Fields Farm, Bromsgrove Road, Romsley  B62 0JN  This farm is now "reactivated", I was told by the owner, for fruit and vegetable growing.  Why not for woodland and hedges, too?
  9. Goodrest Farm has a public footpath running through it.  I have found them very pleasant and most obliging.  Horses are more in evidence, now but, let us all ask for climate improving woodland and hedges.
  10. David Russell is a big landowner at 442 Bromsgrove Road Halesowen B62 0JL.  His land holding includes part of Halesowen Railway that is barred to the public.  Other land of his has sheep.
  11. Beech House, Church Hill, Quinton, Birmingham B32 4BG owns the SE part of the railway that is open to the public to adventure walk, at their own risk, from Dowery Dell to the M5 subway right of way.
Only public pressure, with the pen being mightier and more moral than the sword, can work!  I promise to write, myself in the coming days.  But it needs many more than good ol' me!  Some email addresses, here:

THANKS!  Write, if only to educate, to inform and to express appreciation to our wonderful farmers who grow our food!


 Always remind the politicians & their servants that they have completely destroyed Dudley railway station at Castle Hill and the Dudley Railway between Derby and Devon, as they build another railway on the other side of Brum! Burton to Bristol via Brierley Hill gone for a burton!

Sunday, 16 May 2021

For £200 m for a new Royal Yacht we could have two and a half Kms (less than 2 miles) of Metro trams to replace ...

For £200 m for a new Royal Yacht, we could have two and a half Kms (less than 2 miles) of Metro trams to replace old-fashioned buses and trains!  And tram traffic lights, too!  And more street furniture!  And less room for everything and everyone!

£81 m/Km for Metro Eastside extension gives you 2.5 Km of tram construction on roads for £200 m.  200 divided by 81 = 2.5 approx

Jeremy Vine and Peter Mandelson on Hartlepool

Mandelson on Labour's General Election record:

"Lost (79), lost (83), lost (87), lost (92), Blair (97), Blair (01), Blair (05), lost (10), lost (15), lost (17), lost (19)."

Vine on Labour's General Election record:

"Corbyn got more votes, as Labour leader, in 2019 than in any other General Election except 2017 when he was also the leader and did even better.  Therefore, his policies were more popular than any other Labour leader since the 2001 General Election."


Hartlepool General Election Labour votes:

Blair 18,000

Brown 16,000

Milliband 14,000

Corbyn 22,000

Corbyn 15,500

Starmer 8,500

Corbyn on 10 May 2021 (Vine show on Radio 2) said:

"We lost 300 council seats last week.  My worst result was 18 seats lost.  I was undermined by Mandelson and others and contrition is required by Peter.

"My 10 m votes for Labour Party in 2019 was more than any other election since 2001.  The monstering of individuals in the party had an effect on the electorate.  I had 600,000 members join the party during my leadership.

"In 2005 we won on fewer votes than we achieved when we lost in 2019."

Saturday, 15 May 2021

Railway lines, roads given for tram extensions as HS2 is built!

Another mode of transport to make for more changes between bus, train and tram, more delays. Far worse, on a principal mainline railway from Burton to Bristol via Brierley Hill and from Derby to Devon via Dudley. 4 Dudley railway lines now destroyed. Plenty on the E side of Brum!

To Stuart Everton:- After all these years, the major business and commuter cycle route, the 22 Kms Black Country Cycle-Walk Mudway is still not finished, Stuart. When are we going to be able to use it on its entire length without wellies, boots or mountain bikes? Is this part of your job brief?

The UK's last 120 Kms mainline railway can now only be a train-tram-train mainline from Burton to Bristol via Brierley Hill and Derby to Devon via Dudley. Missed something? You certainly don't miss out on changes, delays, a slower journey compared with 150 yrs ago for 100 yrs.

Friday, 14 May 2021


My choice for low car traffic in Kings Heath is, firstly to reopen the railway line and rebuild KH station (now being done).

Secondly, regional Fare-free Public Transport being extended from old crocks like me that I've had for 13 years to all of you youngsters and not so young.

Thirdly, motorists volunteer a car-free day every week in exchange for exemption from Vehicle Excise Duty.  Speed cameras catch three contraventions and then impose the VED. Same day of the week for every car at the same address.

Fourthly, mums/dads get an active travel allowance from the primary school if no car has been used to get their children to school!


In only four years, your expenditure on only transport has gone up sevenfold.  This is shocking and disgraceful in the light of the climate emergency you have declared.  Seven times more greenhouse gases to accelerate the runaway greenhouse effect!  This is ecocide.

Spending = fossil fuels burnt = greenhouse gases emitted = intensifying greenhouse effect = runaway greenhouse effect = turning earth into planet venus = THE END.

Please come to your senses.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

To and from Mike Waters

Dear Bob and friends in Left Unity - and copied to Cllr Chris Burden to help him live up to his fine sentiments, below.  And also to reply/comment/engage - please Chris!  Other addresses are bcc'd.

This email has just come through from Mike Waters who is Director of Policy, Strategy, Innovation at TfWM.  Also copied in:
Chris Burden is last week's elected Wolverhampton Labour councillor whom I met when I stood as a declared Independent CA Mayor candidate at the husting he chaired.  This up and coming young man is Co-Chair of the Young Combined Authority and wrote, in recent months:

Chris Burden, Co-Chair, YCA - Vision document

"... this is the first time that young people have come together to produce a vision for our region in which we call on our leaders to be ambitious in delivering not only growth but a more radical change that reflects the urgency of our situations.

"But we, as young people and citizens of the West Midlands, deserve them to be done now. With each passing day of inaction, there is less of a future left to fight for."

He also heard from me with this, below.  However, he has not yet replied to anything I've sent him for comment.  I feel that with the high profile that he has, he needs to live up to his fine words for radical action and join those of us who are fighting for a better future with the urgency he says he also wants.

Thursday, 15 April 2021

Twitter to Chris Burden

Do you want regional Fare-Free Public Transport extended from old crocks like me who are on our way out and increasingly housebound, to you dynamic young things, Chris?

Ian Brookfield is the Leader of Labour-controlled Wolverhampton and Jake Thrush received emails from me when he had a post in the W Mids Integrated Transport Authority, last decade.

Please remember that money is no object for TfWM/WMCA who are spending tens of billions of pounds on accelerating greenhouse gas emissions to bring quicker climate catastrophe by their £15 billion for 8 lines over 150 miles and 380 tram stops to replace some bus routes and trains with "bus on rails" trams.  They also want the fairy tale, never-ending economic growth that also accelerates climate disaster and ecocide.

From: Mike Waters <>
Date: Tue, 11 May 2021 at 07:25
Subject: RE: Please read and comment, Mike
To: Tim Weller <>, Chris Burden <>, Chris Burden <>, Ian Brookfield <>, <>
Cc: Jake Thrush <>

Dear Mr Weller,

Thank you for your email on recent developments with campaigning for fare-free​ ​public transport (FFPT). As you highlight, the role of fare pricing as a measure in a transport strategy supporting net zero carbon is of great relevance and importance. It is also clearly important in relation to achieving inclusive economic growth.​  FFPT is important as the carrot to the stick of CAZ.  The idea of regional FFPT being extended to all is to minimise travel and to maximise the use of public transport.  To minimise greenhouse gas emissions to maximise our future prospects.  It's called green growth to counter ruinous, unsustainable, economic growth.

TfWM will be considering the role of fare pricing in the development of the new West Midlands Local Transport Plan – the region’s statutory plan for transport. The intention is to have public consultation on a Green Paper this summer, setting out the key issues for our transport strategy.  We then expect to have a full public consultation on a new draft Local Transport Plan early in 2022.​  Over the 53 years I have lived in the Black Country and Brum there have been countless transport plans of all descriptions.  All glossy, impressive documents.  But nothing ever changes - apart from rising congestion and pollution; and, adding to the shortages to come as we enthusiastically burn up the oil and gas that disastrously change the chemical composition of the atmosphere for the worse.

Fare pricing is also an important consideration in our work to develop our Bus Service Improvement Plan for submission to Government in October to secure national bus strategy funding. It is also likely to be a measure of importance in overall approach to our negotiations to maximise our share of the national Intra City Transport Funding settlement (ICTS).​  Mike, please ask Andy to follow Andy Burnham's lead in Manchester in getting full public control of the buses in the W Mids, too.  This video, below is Andy B being interviewed in Manchester about "buses being brought back under public control. ... We involve people ... we must have (fare) fairness over the cost of public transport here in Manchester as they have in London."  Watch this YouTube interview with Burnham.

As highlighted above, one of the key reasons for a new Local Transport Plan is to ensure that the transport strategy plays its full part in rapid de-carbonisation of the West Midlands’ transport sector, related to the WMCA’s wider WM2041 carbon strategy for the West Midlands.

We have to rapidly minimise our emissions of all greenhouse gases by rewarding those who leave their cars at home by giving them an entirely free regional bus, train, tram use that I have had for 13 years.  Go for equality and fareness so, that as my Dudley Council give free car parking, give the public transport passengers free travel.

PENSIONERS, LIKE ME CHAMPION THE YOUNG AND MIDDLE-AGED, LIKE YOU, MIKE!  For reasons of social justice, deprivation and by sensible action to respond to the climate emergency.

In considering fare free​ ​public transport it may be useful to frame a response around Objectives, Strategy, Tactics.

Our objectives for transport includes the key objective of rapid de-carbonisation of transport to help achieve a net zero carbon West Midlands.

Burnham's objective is full public ​control of fares in the Manchester city region.  Let it be Street's and yours, too.

With strategy - the overall long term approach  - much current thinking in the transport sector suggests that the way to achieve transport de-carbonisation is through the widespread use of electric, and potentially hydrogen, powertrain vehicles, alongside major reductions in private single occupancy car vehicle km’s travelled. Yes!  This requires some longer car journeys to be replaced by shorter car journeys, e.g. going shopping more locally; some car journeys to be replaced by working from home; and many car journeys replaced by journeys by public transport, cycling and walking (e.g. mode shift).

Yes!  So FINISH competently the major, 22 Kms Black Country Cycle-Walk Mudway so we can use it for business and commuting.

The issue then becomes what measures and tactics are needed for this strategic approach. Fare free​ ​public transport (FFPT), either full, or partial, is a potential measure to achieve mode shift from car to public transport in the West Midlands, alongside other potential measures of increasing the quality of existing public transport services, creating new public transport services and demand management measures for some car use.  FFPT also needs to be considered alongside alternatives such as measures for fares and concessionary travel, including lower fares for targeted groups through wider concessionary travel schemes.

Existing concessionary travel is Fare-Free Public Transport!  Extend it.  Use CAZ charges and the £15 billion for trams that is totally unnecessary, wasteful and even more climate damaging.

When looking at FFPT, it is interesting to note that international research, such as that by UITP, the international association of public transport, highlights increased public transport use with FFPT for some towns and cities, often as part of wider improvements to public transport. However, research also highlights potential draw-backs of FFPT such as low mode shift from car, with higher public transport use coming from induced demand (principally those previously using active travel modes and increased trip frequencies from existing public transport users).  There are also issues of high ongoing revenue costs which can lead (for example in Hasselt, Belgium) to the schemes being stopped. International research also highlights the need to weigh-up whether investment in improvements to public transport are a better way to secure long term mode shift, as part of a wider transport package.

Investing in improvements to public transport always means enormous, climate-damaging and costly infrastructure projects like Sprint and Metro.  These have resulted​ in a WORSE public transport for every single passenger on the eleven bus routes that can no longer use Five Ways underpass and Broad Street.  Except, for those lucky people in Edgbaston village who can walk to their new tram stop for a superb, smooth and stately ride into Brum city centre.

​Dudley town centre residents can never again have their railway station back for a quick ride by TRAIN into Brum Snow Hill station.​  Dudley will, forever, be the largest town in the UK without a railway station.  Yet, it was well used for about 100 years.  This is a scandal.

It is also relevant to note that areas that have introduced FFPT have had low farebox recovery rates prior to introduction - where most of the operating costs were not paid for by the fares recovered, but through public subsidy. This is a very different situation to the West Midland in which fares do cover a relatively high proportion of the costs of the public transport, with overall cost to the public purse being relatively lower.  Therefore basic affordability must be taken into account and potentially additional alternative public revenue sources to pay for any FFPT policy. In this respect it is interesting to note that the Deputy Mayor of Tallinn questions whether fare free​ ​public transport is suitable for urban areas with much higher farebox recovery ratios than Tallinn. Deputy Mayor of Tallinn Andrei Novikov said :

“We have seen that budget implications are crucial," said Novikov. "Here [in Tallinn], where the lost revenues have amounted to just 20 per cent of the public transport budget, it was justified. "For cities that depend on ticket sales for a larger share of their public transport budget, free public transport would be more difficult to support…”.

HOWEVER, there is never any problem with giving FFPT to old men like me who are on our way out, losing our former activity to places all over the W Midlands and spend more time at home.  You lot must have it and need it much more than me.  There is simply no excuse!

There is no conclusion on a policy position on fare free public transport in the West Midlands.  This is ultimately a political decision which will be informed by the work to refresh and consult on a new Local Transport Plan.  That work producing the new draft LTP is considering different measures for the overall West Midlands transport strategy. TfWM will then hold public consultation on a draft strategy which will set out a combination of measures for the West Midlands to de-carbonise transport in the West Midlands, as part of one overall urban transport strategy.

TfWM would like to encourage interested groups to participate in the consultation and engagement for this when that goes live later in 2021 and to formally contribute to the process.​  Brilliant!    Tim

Kind regards


Mike Waters
Director of Policy, Strategy and Innovation


From: Tim Weller <>
Sent: 10 May 2021 09:32
To: Chris Burden <>; Chris Burden <>; Ian Brookfield <>;; Mike Waters <>
Subject: Fwd: Please read and comment, Mike

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Tim Weller <>
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 2021 at 10:35
Subject: Please read and comment, Mike
To: Mike Waters <>


As part of its carbon emission reduction agenda, the Climate Action Network West Midlands (CANWM) recently held a successful local and international meeting on the subject

of introducing FFPT in Birmingham and the West Midlands.

The meeting was led by an expert on the international situation, Wojciech Keblowski, from the Free University of Brussels. He related his research into this growing phenomenon, with 100 cities around the world now implementing FFPT schemes. Although the experience is specific to every area, the general view is that increased use of public transport and a reduction in car use usually follows. There are other social benefits.

While the nearest example to the UK is Dunkirk, the most long-lasting and largest example is in Tallinn, Estonia. The loss of revenue from ticket sales was eventually more than overcome by savings elsewhere. That was, even more the case in Aubagne, France.

There was representation at the meeting by people from Glasgow, who are pushing for FFPT in their area as well.

Soon afterward, there was a large national meeting hosted by Manchester activists, outlining how they had pioneered the move to re-regulate the bus service. Glasgow, Birmingham, and the West Midlands were also represented at this meeting. The links are growing.

For CANWM, the next stage is for a feasibility study to be undertaken regarding FFPT in Birmingham and the West Midlands. Birmingham City Council has refused to take this on, and Transport for West Midlands (T4WM) have proven even less receptive. This negative outlook needs to be challenged, but in the meantime other partners are being sought.

It is no good waiting until post-Covid to make the preparations, the planning should start now. The biggest source of Carbon Dioxide emissions in the UK and the West Midlands is now from transport. In Birmingham it takes second place to buildings.

The climate will not wait for us to get our act together. This campaign needs as much support as it can get.

The 25-minute video of the event is here,

CANWM can be contacted at