Friday, 29 April 2022

Porritt and Rousseau

You're right Jonathon. But how can my one-man campaign against the destruction of the UK's last mainline railway "of national strategic significance" (18.3.2018) become creative and effective and many more than just good ol' me?!!

And even the ONLY public open space at Merry Hill Shopping Centre gets bulldozed for a 400 m double-track railway viaduct for the tram. That alone will be costing £50 million, at least out of the total cost of over £500 million for 10.7 Kms of tramline from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill.

Use the mainline railway for trams to Stourbridge from Dudley, if you must but then use electric buses from Round Oak tram stop to bring people into Merry Hill instead of "bus on rails" trams.

"You are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody." — Jean-Jacques Rousseau


Light rail trams must be done first to get the proper heavy rail trains back, in due course. "LR investment provides the basis for restoring HR services at the appropriate time." Sept 2000 from Tom Magrath, Passenger Services Director.

Passive provision (Laura Shoaf, Chief Exec of WMCA)is being built in to allow double-running/track sharing between trams and freight trains. That simply and only means that the width of the track is the same for trams and trains.

Thursday, 28 April 2022

Out of pique, did the Richardson twins ...

Did the Richardson twins abandon the monorail link to the Metro when they found that Centro/TfWM were not delivering the Metro extension?

Were they let down by the authorities?  Did they go ahead expecting the tram/monorail interchange at Round Oak?​

Were free enterprise and entrepreneurship failed by the dead hand of council bureaucracy and paralysis?

Lee and Martyn Richardson  100 Dudley Road East, Oldbury, West Midlands, B69 3DY

1986 plan for Merry Hill monorail linking with Metro at Round Oak

"There were to be five stations, with the system extending over the canal and terminating close to the site of the former Round Oak railway station where an interchange with a West Midlands Metro extension was proposed. However, only the first four stations were completed; Waterfront East, Central Station, Times Square and Boulevard; with Waterfront West planned as a future development.[18"

West Midlands Metro Line Two[edit]

Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) will open a new line of the West Midlands Metro from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill, with a new stop at Merry Hill, planned to open in 2023. The line was first planned in 1986 and was expected to be built during the 1990s, but funding and planning difficulties resulted in a 30-year delay to this project becoming a reality.[29]


Matt's cartoon in the Telegraph

Matt's cartoon in the Telegraph:- Conservatives  - "Reducing crime by committing less of it." (Partygate)

Weller's 'wisdom'  - All politicians - Expanding public transport by making it less attractive to use.  (Metro light rail trams, very light rail trams, ultra light trams all on the UK's last principal mainline railway "of national strategic significance" between Stourbridge Jct and Burton on Trent. I kid you not! Plus, the Sprint bus that thinks it's a tram.)

Monday, 18 April 2022

John Crace on Johnson

Would he lie to you? Of course he would! Boris Johnson is a stranger to the truth. Take Partygate as one example. First he told parliament no parties had taken place in Downing Street and that he would be furious if there had been. Then that he had not been to any parties personally. Only work events that looked like parties. Now he's been fined for rule-breaking in Downing Street. And guess who made the rules in the first place and was on the TV most nights persuading everyone to obey them?

But would I lie to you? Definitely not! I have become near enough a transcription service in the ongoing Johnson embarrassment of parties, Covid and Brexit. I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried. Thank God I am not a news reporter trying to make sense of it all.

John Crace
Guardian Columnist

Thursday, 14 April 2022

Russia on our side in both world wars (but were we fighting them in 1918/19?)

The Triple Entente aka the Allies: - Russia, France and Britain.  Italy joined the Allies in 1915.

The loses Russia suffered in the first world war were catastrophic. Between 900,000 and 2,500,000 Russians were killed.  20 to 30 m killed in the 2 WW and I've heard 27 million.


The Allies of World War I or Entente Powers were a coalition of countries led by FranceBritainRussiaItalyJapan, and the United States against the Central Powers of GermanyAustria-Hungary, the Ottoman EmpireBulgaria, and their colonies during the First World War (1914–1918).

By the end of the first decade of the 20th century, the major European powers were divided between the Triple Entente and the Triple Alliance. The Triple Entente was made up of France, Britain, and Russia. The Triple Alliance was originally composed of Germany, Austria–Hungary, and Italy, but Italy remained neutral in 1914.

The United States joined in 1917 (the same year in which Russia withdrew from the conflict) as an "associated power" rather than an official ally.  

Sunday, 10 April 2022

Feedback on the HAT AGM

Dear friends

I did feel that Saturday's meeting was very well controlled by Mick and Roy, when a clearer invitation for a wider discussion amongst the members attending over what they might have wanted to talk about relevant, of course, to our large area of benefit, might not have been amiss.  We did have a most welcome, delightful and interesting talk from Mick.

Mick started by talking about nature conservation, wildlife sites, the Black Country Plan and left the wall garden to the end of his talk.  The wall garden was what the AGM was about.  Mick told us that the nearly £19,000 in the bank, can only be used for the wall garden.  However, it only covers a very small area of the Halesowen Abbey Trust 'Area of Benefit' that the AGM was about.

I was not allowed to remind members of the Ray Smith wildlife pond in Leasowes Park, despite Mick talking about the canal as a linear pond and reminiscing about rowing boats in the Lapal Canal in Leasowes Park.  More might have been invited to come up with their own ideas as to how to promote nature conservation in our area of benefit, or how to improve public footpath access or, to positively encourage our wonderful farmers and landowners, like Philip Bibbey, to use the land for less horsiculture (Mick's very own coined and excellent name) and more for farming to feed us all.  No mention of farming in tune with nature (or regenerative farming) in our area of benefit to enhance nature conservation and to slow the rising emissions of greenhouse gases that worsen the climate emergency that our council, together with regional and national governments, all declared so solemnly.

The Abbey Trust AGM might have included the Abbey but there was no mention as to how (by keeping the farmers and landowners sweet and content, compliant and quiet) access to view the Abbey was ever going to come about.  After many years, if not decades, we are still officially, to step no nearer to the Infirmary than the exact line of the public right of way.  What is our committee doing about that, I wonder?  Yet, if I remember correctly in the 80s and 90s, it was Mick and Roy's sterling work that got English Heritage to restore, at public expense, this privately owned Infirmary.

One item that was on the agenda was Halesowen in Bloom.  Could Hilary have been invited to the front with Mick, so that we could have had a fuller report from her?  And, could we have had an update on the built development at Lyeclose Farm and Illeybrook Farm?  Next year, perhaps?

In our area of benefit, Roy did a detailed survey of all of Dudley's stiles but it took years for the "modest" (Mick's word) number of stiles to be fitted with steps, as Roy was recommending.  The "modest" work was finally done last year but at yesterday's AGM, neither Mick nor Roy was able to tell us the number of new steps that had now been installed for the £9,500.  Perhaps, the council will return to the job this year but, will the committee remind them that we do expect more stiles to have steps fitted for our £9,500?

In all the decades I have known Mick and Roy, certainly our leader Mick has told me about his interest in other issues and concerns elsewhere, over greenbelt protection.  Therefore, I would love us all to write one email each in support of saving the only public open space and the nearest thing Merry Hill has to a wildlife site, from being completely destroyed by a double track, concrete railway viaduct for Metro "bus on rails" trams.  What the authorities want, wipes out any hope of saving our borough's very last and seventh railway.  All the others have already gone for a burton.

Wednesday, 6 April 2022


Dear Laura

It is grossly immoral, with a cost of living crisis, the energy crisis and a housing crisis, quite apart from quickly rising inflation, to be spending on WBHE well over half a billion pounds by 2024 or 2025, when you finally complete the 10.7 Kms WBHE.

It means many hundreds of millions of pounds spent to destroy Dudley's very last and seventh wrecked railway when the seventh is already built with every bridge, viaduct and tunnel in place between Worcester and Derby - over 120 Kms.

What a slap in the face for many tens of thousands of our people who want help with paying their fuel bills to heat their homes and, especially, simply to eat.  Yet, you deprive them of that money.

You are doing the poor down to destroy, with a massive concrete railway viaduct, the only public open space at Merry Hill that is already short of nature.  400 metres of trees and shrubs get felled and even carbon-absorbing grass and soil gets smothered in concrete, brick and tarmac to worsen the climate emergency.

There is still time to stop Metro beyond Dudley, finish the railway with trains and reinstate the monorail to Merry Hill but, this time, connect it to the railway line.

You and your colleagues are behaving immorally with your foolish obsession with the most expensive transport mode to construct after HS2, simply to impress the foreign visitor with a swish, smart, grossly extravagant, prestigious, "bus on rails" tram to destroy the eleven fast bus routes into Brum city centre via Five Ways underpass and Broad Street.  And, with WBHE, to destroy Brum's bypass mainline railway - the 120 Kms Black Country Railway.

Each of your unnecessary, vain, 'look how rich we are', electric trams cost over £5 m.  Compare that with half a million pounds for a new electric bus directly on the road surface without needing the steel (climate worsening) railway tracks.

Please buck your ideas up, Laura.

Tim 6 April 2022

0791 380 4363

Tuesday, 5 April 2022

Live simply to simply live

Individuals, like me, are nearly off-grid, except in the darkest days of winter, by living more simply, frugally and cheaply and using the sun's nuclear fusion to give us electricity.  No gas for my home (except for my wife's personal washing)  Everyone needs to live like good ol' ME!!

Full £1.3 billion transport investment programme confirmed

The programme has been developed by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), which is part of the WMCA, in close partnership with local councils.

Last month the WMCA Board gave the green light to the first four projects. Today’s funding confirmation means work on these can now start. The projects are:

  • £24 million to seek sites for, plan and deliver a network of 10 electric vehicle charging stations across the West Midlands
  • £43 million to extend the West Midlands Metro depot at Wednesbury to service the region’s growing tram fleet and network – including the extension to Dudley in 2024.
  • £17 million to replace and upgrade the Metro power supply on the existing Wolverhampton to Birmingham line for the first time since it opened 22 years ago.
  • £56 million to deliver phase two of the Sprint bus priority corridor with more bus lanes and junction upgrades along the full route between Solihull and Walsall. Phase one along the A34 and A45 in Birmingham is nearing completion.

The grant includes funding for the development of new bus lanes and priority routes. Around £254 million will go directly towards schemes which enable active travel, the collective name for cycling and walking.

The DfT also confirmed today that it has earmarked additional funding of up to £87.9 million towards the further development of the region’s Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP).

Anne Shaw, executive director of TfWM, said: “This is the largest single investment in our transport infrastructure and will deliver a wide range of projects across our region including bus priority routes, railway stations, safe cycle routes and electric vehicle charging facilities.

“We have, with our local authority partners and backed by Government, developed an investment programme which will support our targets of delivering a green transport revolution, to better connect our communities and support new jobs and housing.”

Pointless resistance when you have nasty, ruthless, right wing oppression

I don't care who governs me - whether its UK, EU or Russia/US.  This is Russia's colonial war to take back Ukraine under its governance and rule.  Under a right-wing, ruthless government I would simply keep my head down, stop dissenting and shut up.  Become anonymous.  Resisting, as the Ukraine government is doing, is killing more of their people than Russians.  Pointless.

All this murder and mayhem has its seeds in our victorious, vanquishing of Russia in the Cold War and dancing on their grave ever since with extending our 'empire' of EU/NATO to and over the former Soviet satellite states and confronting NATO's No 1 sworn enemy right up to their eastern border.  "Standing up to Putin" (Justin Webb on 'Today', today) ever since 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down, is extremely dangerous and foolish and lacking in magnanimity and justice/fairness in victory.

Monday, 4 April 2022

Midlands Connect


The 18 key projects Midlands Connect has identified for investment in the next 10-15 years

  • Birmingham-Derby-Nottingham rail journey time improvement
  • M1 junction 28 improvements
  • A50/A500 Corridor Central Section (around Uttoxeter)
  • Nottingham-Lincoln rail journey time improvements
  • A1/A52 junction upgrade at Grantham
  • Coventry-Leicester-Nottingham new direct rail services and journey time improvements
  • A46 improvements at Syston
  • M1 improvements including Leicester Western Access and North Leicestershire extra capacity
  • A5/A426 Gibbet Hill Junction
  • A46 improvements between Stratford and Warwick
  • A46 improvements in Evesham area
  • Kings Norton area rail capacity improvements
  • Reinstatement of Snow Hill Station platform number 4 in Birmingham
  • Birmingham Motorway Box – safety and reliability improvements
  • A5 improvements between Hinckley and Tamworth
  • Birmingham-Black Country-Shrewsbury rail journey time improvement
  • M6 J15 improvements
  • Birmingham – Leicester rail journey time improvements
SELF: Two of these would never have been necessary if you had confined yourselves to improving and modernising our bus and train infrastructure since 1981, instead of hare-ing off into trams on train lines and, trams taking over bus routes.

Democracy requires open discussion between the people and the politicians

Dear Ed and Bob

I’ve just been on the top deck of a bus to take a look at the proposed Metro extension from Edgbaston Village tram stop to Quinton on the south side of Hagley Road pavement/footway.  Two major buildings will be demolished, many front gardens, open space and thousands of shrubs and trees felled and car parking lost. This will worsen the climate emergency, resource depletion, and ecological decline of life on earth.

Without any democratic accountability - no discussion, debate or vote, TfWM is pushing ahead with Metro extensions.  However, before they do anymore work on it, the January 2020 £15 BILLION Metro expansion programme must go out to consultation; the councillors must discuss, then debate in open forum, whether or not this is a good idea.

I would like to suggest that our regional Greener Together public forum should discuss the matter, including what should be done about the WBHE to Merry Hill, Brierley Hill and the unused sections of the ready built, 56 Kms principal mainline railway between Burton on Trent and Stourbridge.

Can this be done, please Ed - and Bob?

Democracy requires open discussion between the people and the politicians. Edinburgh City Council has followed democracy in this way, twice, before going ahead with their tramways.

Best wishes

Saturday, 2 April 2022

to Brigid Jones, Karen McCarthy

Dear Brigid and Karen - and copied to Ian Ward

It was a delight to meet you and to have a chat with you both this morning.

You are, of course, right Brigid in making the excellent point about fewer particulates, tyre dust and other toxic matter with trams on rails compared with wheels directly on roads.

It would be wonderful if you both and Ian felt able to take up my offer to show you the 400 metre grass embankment that holds up Dudley No 1 Canal at Merry Hill Shopping Centre.  Ian is ultimately responsible for the concreting of the only public open space at Merry Hill.  There is still time for the plans to be redrawn if Ian, transport lead for the Combined Authority, asked the MMA to tweak the tram tracks two metres west and to place them on steel stilts above the water of the canal.  This would mean maximum room for low energy, eco-housing on both the High Plateau and on 'Daniel's Land', while preserving the public open space and trees.  See one official plan below my name and address, at the very foot.

Work has only begun at the Dudley end of the WBHE tram and not at Merry Hill apart from ground investigations.

My landscape enhancement scheme is under the tram tracks and against the iron wall that holds up the High Plateau on its north side.  See the plan, at the very foot, below the photos.  I would love to show it to you.

This suggestion and my guerrilla gardening are to turn Merry Hell into Merry Heaven and the presence of your good selves and that of Ian would be just that - heaven!

Best wishes and thanks so much for seeing me - as did Ian, at his surgery, some three years ago.  My own Dudley councillors don't seem to have surgeries.  You three are brilliant!



MY BRIEFING ON THE RUSSIAN-UKRAINIAN WAR - but only the first two paragraphs are mine.  Written on:


Tuesday, 10 April 2018

The West is Best - or is it the Worst?

SELF: The West backing Westernisation of Ukraine was NOT a good idea!  Not a word of protest or objection or dismay was expressed by the American led West when, in February 2014, 50 civilians were killed in Kyiv and a fairly elected, pro Russian government was overthrown and a pro Western government installed.  That worked well for the West because our man was installed, only 50 people were killed and it was quickly over within the week.

SELF:  Overthrowing the Syrian government, however, has gone horribly wrong for the West over these last seven years.  In addition, Assad was an ophthalmologist in London for a time.  Was he given a state visit to London on one occasion?  Is this man another monster of our own making?  He came from the West, it seems.  Is the West a glowing, good and righteous example to the rest of the world in any respects at all?

"​Ukraine gained independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and has since veered between seeking closer integration with Western Europe and being drawn into the orbit of Russia, which sees its interests as threatened by a Western-leaning Ukraine.​"​    BBC News​

Take Crimea for instance.  More than half of its 2 million people are Russian, and Russia still maintains a naval base there. In fact, the region was part of Russia until 1954, when Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev gave it to Ukraine as a present. When the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, Crimea became part of an independent Ukraine.

Pro Russian Viktor Yanukovych overthrown in February 2014; Pro Western Petro Poroshenko installed.

Why Ukraine Is Such A Big Deal For Russia   February 21, 2014 11:52 AM ET



Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to stem his country's decline in global influence: Moscow's leverage in places like Ukraine is one way to preserve that influence. But there are other reasons why Ukraine is of deep interest to Russia — reasons that have more to do with history, faith, economics and culture.

A Special Relationship

Matthew Rojansky, director of the Kennan Institute at the Wilson Center, says the two countries "are joined at the hip": They share language; Russian media are popular in Ukraine; there are family ties; many Ukrainians work in Russia; and Russians have billions of dollars invested in Ukraine.

"Their relationship is like the U.S.-U.K. special relationship," Rojansky says.

Historically, those ties date back to before the Soviet Union — and even before the days of the Russian empire that began in the 18th century.

Many consider Ukraine to be the birthplace of the region's Orthodox Christianity. Ukraine then became part of the Russian empire, and later part of the Soviet Union, where Ukrainian men were pivotal in the Soviet defeat of the German army in World War II. (Ukraine was perhaps the most important Soviet republic after Russia).

Linguistic And Economic Ties

Linguistically, as we've told you before, most Ukrainians speak both Ukrainian and Russian. But it's the eastern and southern parts of the country where Russian speakers dominate, and where Russia still holds influence.

Take Crimea, for instance. More than half of its 2 million people are Russian, and Russia still maintains a naval base there. In fact, the region was part of Russia until 1954, when Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev gave it to Ukraine as a present. When the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, Crimea became part of an independent Ukraine.

Millions of Ukrainians work in Russia, and according to the EU-funded Migration Policy Centre, the Russia-Ukraine border is the second-largest migration corridor in the world. (The U.S.-Mexico border is the largest.) The center says that in 2011, more than one-third of all Ukrainian migration was to Russia.

Russian companies are one of the largest investors in Ukraine, accounting for 7 percent of total foreign investment in 2013, according to official Ukrainian statistics. And when Yanukovych walked away from the deal on closer economic and political ties with the EU, Russia said it would buy $15 billion worth of Ukrainian bonds, giving Kiev an economic lifeline. (But on Friday Moscow said it was taking a wait-and-see approach to the events unfolding across the border.)

Ukraine is also a key component of Russia's plans for a Eurasian customs union with some other former Soviet states. But as Steven Pifer, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, told NPR's Robert Siegel, "for many Ukrainians, and I even think for President Yanukovych, that's not where they want to go."

Seeds Of Discord

The crisis in Ukraine is, in many ways, a conflict about the former Soviet republic's future direction: Should it look westward toward the EU or maintain close ties with Russia?

Until recently, this wasn't an either/or question, says Stephen Sestanovich, a professor of international diplomacy at Columbia University.

"For 20-odd years, it has been possible for the Ukrainians to kind of have it both ways," Sestanovich told NPR's Siegel. "What is now the troubling issue on the agenda is the perception of a lot of people that you do have to choose, and that is producing violence across Ukraine."

There are historical reasons for some of the antipathy — especially in the western part of Ukraine that borders Poland, where the protests against Yanukovych have been the loudest. This area was once part of Poland and Austro-Hungary, and became part of Ukraine only when World War II began.

Ukraine was the victim of the 1932-33 famine induced by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. Later, it was among the Soviet republics that bore the brunt of the Chernobyl disaster.

Those events undoubtedly resonated in the public memory for years: Ukraine was one of the first Soviet republics to vote for independence from the USSR. It did so overwhelmingly in 1991. The Soviet Union fell apart soon after that.

The West Backed the Wrong Man in Ukraine - Bloomberg


"Poroshenko, who had briefly served as Ukraine's foreign minister, looked worldlier than his predecessor, the deposed Viktor Yanukovych, and spoke passable English. He and his first prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, knew what the U.S. State Department and Vice President Joe Biden, who acted as the Obama administration's point man on Ukraine, wanted to hear. So, as Ukraine emerged from the revolutionary chaos of January and February 2014, the U.S., and with it the EU, backed Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk as Ukraine's next leaders. Armed with this support, not least with promises of major technical aid and International Monetary Fund loans, they won elections, posing as Westernizers who would lead Ukraine into Europe. But their agendas turned out to be more self-serving."

Friday, 1 April 2022



  1. Ever-rising economic gain or wealth on a finite and natural planet can only come at the expense of that planet and its ecosystems or life support systems.  Future generations lose out.
  2. Therefore, we have to move to a more sustainable and socially fair/just way of conducting our behaviour/lifestyles on this planet.  This must be done by:
  3. Generating electricity for buildings by putting PV solar on the buildings' roofs.  Excess electricity should be stored in a mixture of batteries and exported to the grid for others to use when there is insufficient light to power the panels.  I have exported 32 MW in eight years and am now using a battery to use more of the electricity myself to cut down on gas use.
  4. Conservation of our fast disappearing finite fossil fuels can be done by scrapping immorally expensive "bus on rails" Metro trams by, instead, rolling out electric buses directly on roads (without the steel rails) and putting them on the nearside lane for their exclusive use.
  5. Let that lane be also used for all two wheel transport, too.
  6. The outside lane is confined to all essential business users in cars, vans, trucks and lorries.  Commuter who don't need their cars for work must use the electric bus on the dedicated nearside lane.
  7. The stick is having only the overtaking lane to drive in and the carrot is financial inducement, as here:
  8. Money saved from not having to dig up the road for steel railway tracks is used to check, monitor and enforce the bus only lane all the way from Halesowen bus station to Five Ways roundabout.
  9. Money saved from not having LR, VLR or ULR trams is used to reward car drivers who leave their cars at home and use the electric bus on its dedicated bus lane.  Everyone gets FFPT, not just old crocks like me.
  10. Boston is now on board.
  11. Perhaps, workers should even get paid for the first 12 months of using the commuter bus on its dedicated bus lane, as an extra reward/inducement/bribe?
  12. Profit or surplus from the CAZ must go towards rewarding thoughtful, responsible citizens who use the bus instead of the car.
  13. Certainly, this is a better, more sensible use of the £15 BILLION to 2040 now being spent to convert buses and trains into three different kinds of trams - LR, VLR. ULR.
  14. Two year experiment on Hagley Road from Halesowen bus station to Five Ways.
Best wishes

Major Merry Hill for major transport interchange

"The centre boasts more than 200 shops and restaurants, almost 10,000 free car parking spaces, supports more than 8,000 jobs in the local economy and is a major destination for shoppers from across the region.

"There is a project already in place to bring the Midland Metro to the centre as part of the extension of the rail system (my emphasis) which will make it a major transport interchange too."  (media report on 1.4.22)

But, they have neglected the Merry Hill railway, aka the Dudley Railway or the 120 Kms Black Country Railway and are even breaking it up into heavy rail, Light Rail (Metro), Very Light Rail (the test track) and perhaps, even Ultra Light Rail between Stourbridge and Brierley Hill!!

to Ed Cox re Greener Together Public Forum

Dear Ed and Bob

You are both responsible for these quarterly forums that are well worth doing and I would like to make these suggestions to you both.
  1. I would like you, Ed to continue to Chair these meetings, with Bob as second in command.  You, Ed encouraged participation and specifically invited comments and questions from anyone out there.  Excellent!  Bob, our petition leader, is also an excellent Chair and must share it with you.
  2. I see you, Ed as the liaison, the go-between, the access door to the decision-makers at TfWM/WMCA.  You are, therefore pretty useful - a VIP, in fact!
  3. I do prefer online Teams or Zoom meetings rather than even hybrid gatherings.  It is so very convenient and lower impact on life support systems in not having to travel.  Online are much better attended, too.
  4. Perhaps, next time at 7 pm and no limit on the numbers attending online.
  5. I am anxious that top officers and councillors are present online to listen to those of us who wish to put an alternative point of view.  Especially, when topics, ideas and suggestions are relevant to their area or subject.  Please encourage them to attend.
  6. It seems the forums are in place of the 'Ask Andy' public meetings.  Like you Ed, Andy also welcomed the public to have their say at those meetings.  It is so important that our VIPs understand that there is always another point of view and to understand and acknowledge it.  Please get them to attend, Ed!
  7. I would like to suggest for presentations, discussion/debate at future forums, these ideas:
  • every item on our petition, including HS2 because of the lessons we can all learn from it as regards these prestigious, massive, infrastructure spending projects in the light of national, regional and local governments all declaring climate emergencies but continuing with business as usual;
  • training people in solar electricity for rollout of PV installations on every roof (thanks to our solar array and battery, my wife and I are not far off from being off-grid, except in December and January);
  • climate scepticism - the science of climate change and the vocal opponents;
  • what is happening to the West Midlands National Park?
  • how can our farms and fields be used for growing our food rather than for horses and houses?
  • why are eco-homes not being built?
  • Why is retrofitting being so slow to get done?
  • how to boost bus use and cut car commuting;
  • why are the young and middle-aged being discriminated against when it comes to Fare-Free Public Transport?
  • the one and only public open space due for the concrete treatment at Merry Hill Shopping Centre and, free car parking at shopping centres;
  • the popularity of trams, aka light rail;
  • why Sprint?
  • how can canals and rivers be made cleaner and even restored as water features - and even for flood management?
  • why are councillors so uninterested in public transport and leave it all to 16 Summer Lane?
  • what role do they have in leading by example and being a model for the community rather than a mirror?
  • why do officers involved in public transport use it so little, especially buses?
  • public rights of way upgraded to make for better access to open country;
  • restorative agriculture for the West Midlands;
  • economics as if people and the future mattered on a planet not expanding to allow for our ever-increasing demands;
  • farming in tune with nature;
  • how can our remaining mothballed or half-used (freight only) railways in the W Mids be used to cut car use?
  • Andy Street to explain his January 2020 plan to 2040, at £15 billion for underground and overground Metro lines;
  • the 22 Kms Black Country Cycle-Walk Mudway for business, commuting and leisure use;
  • urban bridleways upgraded for responsible shared use by non-fossil fuel travellers;
  • the future of the 120 Kms Black Country Railway "of national strategic significance".


Can there be an explanation for the extraordinary bungled closure of Five Ways underpass to every single bus from now to eternity, with the two most colossal crash barriers I have ever seen.  This is no way to address climate or congestion or vehicle pollution or resource depletion!

With the closure and built destruction of the Dudley to Brum Railway (and the 7th is well on its way!), can Dudley buses be given priority to use Broad Street, if only two or three routes can use it from now on?

Concrete and brick was used for Dudley No 2 Canal restoration but made the embankment at risk of collapse!  Why was such a clanger dropped?  What will the authorities do to put right their own incompetence?

Concrete is used for the double-track tram viaduct to smother the whole of the Dudley No 1 Canal embankment, the only public open space at Merry Hill.  What are the alternatives?

Concrete is highly greenhouse gas intensive.  Please do NOT use it fill the waterlogging, or the great puddles on the 22 Kms Black Country Cycle-Walk Mudway!