Thursday, 1 June 2023

from Operation Noah, 1 June 2023

Researchers say there is now a 66% chance we will pass the 1.5C global warming threshold between now and 2027 due to emissions from human activities and a change in weather patterns expected this summer. If the world passes the limit, scientists stress the breach, while worrying, will likely only be temporary. But breaking the limit even for just one year is a sign that warming is accelerating and not slowing down. Read more.

Wind turbines have generated more electricity than gas for the first time in the UK. In the first three months of this year, a third of the country's electricity came from wind farms, research from Imperial College London has shown. Read more.

Operation Noah Trustee Steph Lake will participate in a panel discussion on fossil fuels and divestment at Bristol Cathedral on 16 June at 7pm. The discussion is one of a series of events the Cathedral will hold as part of a new art installation called ‘Oil Fountain’ by Luke Jerram which highlights society’s reliance on oil and the need to move away from it. Details.

Green energy projects worth billions of pounds are on hold because they cannot plug into the UK's electricity system. Some new solar and wind sites are waiting up to 15 years to be connected because of a lack of capacity in the system, also known as the 'grid'. Read more.

Wednesday, 31 May 2023

Trade unions are also a fat lot of use and are as bad as the bosses and MPs and councillors

31 May 2023 

I am challenging trade union members in this group as to why:

  1. In the ten years since I retired (at 65.5 yrs!) and have been working more intensively to expose the scandal of Black Country and Brum railway lines destroyed by buildings and roads and trams, only one member of ASLEF has worked with me.
  2. That man is a quite magnificent train driver from Rowley Regis, Dave Parsons who eventually resigned from ASLEF in disgust.
  3. Simon Weller of national ASLEF, whom I heard interviewed on Radio 4, sent my lengthy, detailed evidence of wrongdoing, collusion and acquiescence - quite apart from plain negligence - to the library at his national London HQ, as if that would make a fat lot of difference!
  4. The Midlands TUC and Rob Johnston, Regional policy & campaigns officer and his boss, Lee Barron, have both failed to answer one email or to see me to arrange an appointment when I called, in person, at their Summer Lane HQ (now 24 Livery Street).
  5. When I tried to doorstep Rob as he hurriedly disappeared down the steps after a WMCA Board meeting of which he is a member, even then he refused to speak or listen to me, the rude man.
  6. This was in stark contrast to Tory Mayor Andy Street who has seen me in his office for 30 min.  In addition, as with other members of the public who approach him, he always gives his time and attention to everyone at the end of his public meetings.
  7. This is also in stark contrast to the top people at TfWM/WMCA HQ down the road at 16 Summer Lane who have engaged with me and, even replied to emails.
  8. Because every trade union member and union has sided with the transport bosses, we have this sorry story of idiocy and incompetence, of negligence and folly:
  • I have listed 7 Dudley railway lines, all destroyed, as part of about 100 Kms in total that have gone forever.
  • Still, 100 Kms, after the completion of Dudley Tram Phase One, that are still awaiting passenger trains and stations.
  • Phase One was put on the UK's very last, completed but never used over 56 Kms out of 120 Kms, principal mainline railway!
  • But never a dicky bird is heard from any trade unionist, apart from magnificent Dave Parsons who resigned from ASLEF in protest at his union's collusion and complicity in stupidity and financial scandal!!
WHAT A DISGRACE!

timweller1@gmail.com

Cyclo-cross, 2 days cycling in western Oxfordshire

 Your two streamlined OAP relatives did over a mile of cyclo-cross from remote Heythrop Park Hotel into idyllic Church Enstone.  Lifting the bikes over stiles and struggling through one awkward kissing gate on dry, cracked mud footpaths and through fields!  Then, deserted bridleways and country lanes to chocolate box cottages and houses, many with thatch and all in beautiful Cotswold stone.  Quite magical, especially from being so different from the West Midlands!

What was so special was the empty lanes where we could ride two abreast.  Nothing too steep that bottom gear could not easily cope with as we enjoyed heaps of white blossom from hawthorn, horse chestnuts, buddleia and cow parsley.  Even a few horse chestnuts loaded with rarer, red candle flowers.  The bikes meant you could stop wherever you wanted to and, so much easier to talk to the locals.

Three nights at Heythrop Park, perfect weather even if cold in the mornings, meant two days of cycling and no use of the car, at all.  AND, the very first mile of cycling brought us right up against zebras, hares, monkeys and penguins in their enclosures!

Tuesday, 30 May 2023

to Diane, CEO, Dudley Gp NHS Trust

Dear Diane

Thank you for your prompt reply.  Much appreciated.

You wrote,
"It would be helpful if you could provide any further details of any data and evidence you have gathered about the use of the walkway and the impact and benefit that would be most helpful."

I have no data and only visual evidence myself on the use of the 22 Kms cycle-walkway between Brierley Hill and NW Wolverhampton. Please ask the authorities for "any data and evidence" that they might well have.  I can assure you it is well used by dog walkers, walkers, cyclists and horse riders on the section outside of Dudley, in South Staffordshire and Wolverhampton.  In this section there is one Woodland Trust property, with car park, and one nature reserve that is popular in Wolverhampton, called Valley Parkway.  In our downgraded, muddy, rough section it runs through two nature reserves, including an SSSI at Pensnett Nature Reserve where the route is reasonable.

On the whole section, the Ordnance Survey Explorer map calls it a "traffic-free route", except it is unusable without wellies/boots or mountain bikes in much of the Dudley Council section.  On this section, it is well used on weekends by the happy mudlarks of Stourbridge Cycling Club who oppose any upgrading to make it usable by the rest of us.  On this section it is popular on many days by dirt motorbikes that also drive walkers and cyclists away by the sheer noise and fumes from their activities.

Outside of Dudley borough, part of the Monarch's Way also uses the cycle-walkway that is used as a circular route with walkers and cyclists using the parallel canal towpath.

I would urge you, Diane and all your Trust members to get fully behind in agreeing with and supporting the fine work done by Henry Dimbleby on fighting obesity and the ill health it brings.  Do you all do so already and how?  What do you, yourself, think Diane of Dimbleby's recommendations?  Can you lobby local MPs and national government to help Henry?  Do you think that in light of the importance of personal good health, if only to take the pressure of the NHS that is under great strain, we all need to be much more active?  Could your nearby, downgraded and much neglected but major urban-rural-urban 22 Kms cycle-walkway be important in playing a part in reducing obesity, ill health and the demands on your hospital?

The fact that we are rapidly exhausting our world oil and gas reserves while also hastening climate ecocide also points to transitioning away from our total dependency on finite fossil fuels that play such a major part in enhancing the natural greenhouse effect so dangerously.  Walking, cycling and horse riding must become more popular, together with public transport, to improve our prospects in getting a more comfortable future.  Do you also think so, Diane?

Have you now put one or two Sheffield cycle stands where I have suggested?  By the main patients' entrance, on the other side of the main entrance from where many more were in use for many years?  Many thanks, if you have.

With best wishes

Saturday, 27 May 2023

email to VIPs

 Thank you for acknowledging my full support over your totally unnecessary and wrong replacement as leader of the city council.  You remain a VIP and of considerable respect and influence.

We first met at your surgery when you kindly gave me some of your time; I think it was in 2019 or 20.  You read an important document from the TfWM officers that, presumably, countered the points I was making since the 1990s over the folly of rebuilding the tram network on what was left of the urban railway network of disused lines, that had not yet been built on to be permanently lost to both trams and trains.

Could I please have sight of that very important document that I fear was misleading?

I am anxious that you now use your extra time but, your continuing important status and influence, to stop WBHE Phase 2.  In this way, you will

  1. Save, literally hundreds of millions of pounds in both the price and in the weight of deadly greenhouse gases.
  2. Save nature and these trees

3  Save the only public open space that is actually used by the public

4  Save my own developing guerrilla garden, from the 1990s, directly beneath the planned, 400 metre long concrete and steel Metro tram viaduct as it,

5  takes the NW segment of High Plateau that is all designated for housing, as in this document:WBHE plan

6  ALL of High Plateau is desperately needed for 1/2 bedroom apartments for the most badly housed who do not own a car.  But, they must be cheap to run by being highly energy efficient, must be solar powered and, with car parking only for emergency vehicles and visitors.

7 Change the designation of Daniels Land, in the plan above, from residential to possible SSSI status because of its many decades of being totally untouched by human development that has allowed nature to run riot.  It includes a wetland habitat that might include newts and even great crested newts, as are found at the Pensnett SSSI, 2 Kms north.  Dudley No 1 Canal is in the foreground of this photo of the wetland that is looking west towards Brieley Hill and away from Merry Hill Shopping Centre.


It would be easier for you to understand the importance of what I am writing if you would, please, meet with me on site to see for yourself what I am arguing for.

Many thanks and best wishes

Tim

Thursday, 25 May 2023

Re-regulation aka franchising may come

Thank you for your email to Jon Hayes dated 23 May 2023 regarding the re-regulation and franchising of bus services.


Transport for West Midlands is undertaking a full franchising assessment in line with the process set out in the relevant legislation. This will assess whether the region's bus policies can be more effectively delivered through a franchising system and consider the costs and risks associated with this as well as value for money.  

Ultimately, legislation requires that the decision on whether or not to franchise is taken by the Mayor following a consideration of all of the evidence. This is planned to be presented to the West Midlands Combined Authority Board for consideration in the summer 2024. 



Wednesday, 24 May 2023

Soloed the In Pin in 1993

Thanks for asking. Munro's Tables records I first soloed the In Pin on 23.5.1993, up and down the rock climbers' 'easy' ridge. One of 8 rocky summits on that one day, apparently!

I summited again, with Becky and Tim on another glorious day of weather in June 2008. On 2.06.2008 the two of them took me up my final Munro and Munro Top. My tally on that day of Scottish hills became 527, I see. But the 3 of us could easily have been killed when a huge boulder descended. The Lord had gracious mercy on us. It was a very close shave.

Talking shop customers 'reign', of sorts but don't rule!

Dear Richard

Not one MP I have spoken to or I have written to, has ever expressed any interest in the scandals involving the destruction of one monorail and about 100 Kms of railway lines.  One principal mainline, one insider told me, was even officially safeguarded, viz the 120 Kms Black Country Railway.

Since the 1980s and the appearance of the Kidderminster, Blakedown, Hagley motorway standard bypass, when I started raising my concerns, only three elected councillors have been concerned and supported me - Cllr Cathy Bayton, Cllr Chris Barnett and, this month, the newly elected, Cllr Andrew Tromans.  They are from Dudley MBC.  In more recent weeks, the now deposed, former leader, Cllr Ian Ward had begun to engage.  But not one other Brummie councillor or MP has shown any interest in all those decades!

Since our WMCC meetings started only John Nightingale has written back and been interested; Bill, too agreed over trams; and Jules, also began to understand the points I was making about the all style over substance, the wealth flaunting, the totally unnecessary Metro trams.  Bob thought the tram extensions should be paused and Chris did verbally express opposition to Metro from time to time.  But nothing from your good self, Richard.  And many hundreds of millions of pounds in price and in weight of deadly greenhouse gases have been expended since 1981 when Metro started - "the solution looking for a problem!"

As regards the public, none of my family are interested (my wife did answer and submit her answers to my silly quiz and got one wrong!!) and only train driver Dave Parsons and, Mark Cooper of Wolverhampton have been on my side.

Over decades, nearly ever councillor committee meeting I have attended have been simply talking shops.  Votes and decision making are almost non-existent.  Everything is left to the officers, the professionals, the 'experts' and the elected members are well paid rubber stamps!

Apathy, acquiescence and "But Tim, I let it all wash over me in blissful ignorance" are almost universal!

I don't know what the answer is - apart from political education from secondary education onwards.

Tim

to and from Richard Hatcher

Richard, you write:

"But we all know that public demands on local government are often blocked by the neoliberal class interests of the Tory government, interests which are relayed by local government, whether willingly or not. Which is why digital democracy is not a solution on its own, it needs to be coupled with mass street-based and workplace-based campaigning."

Very true, BUT personal, individual questioning, challenging and checks on what is going on are also vital.  I have never had, in a lifetime of campaigning and never will have, any mass support for  my concerns but that does not stop me from trying to be effective.  And, it is massive fun challenging and helping out the bosses over what to do!  And that is all we can each do.

By the way, Andy Street, knowing that I have supported and voted for him has allowed me into the heart of the Tory camp, on one enjoyable occasion when they all thought I was on their side.  Which is what I absolutely am when they do the right, socially just and person centred, humane thing!  It was yet another opening to query and gently challenge Michael Fabricant and Tim Huxtable.  As I did again last week when Michael was at Andy's 'Ask Andy' public meeting in Dudley, as Josh Neicho will testify because he was there too!

Tuesday, 23 May 2023

Elected members are uninterested, uncaring and uninformed

Dear Richard, Chris and Bob

Elected members are uninterested, uncaring and uninformed

I would love you to join me in highlighting how democracy is failing and that we need to concentrate on trying to get the present people fired up, concerned and active.

We have also had new, very well staffed organisations: the WMCA, and Midlands Connect, that have arisen over the last few years.  This means the most enormous salary bill that we are all footing the bill for.  Extraordinary!

Climate ecocide and shortages of fossil fuels and other resources like critical minerals are continuing as we bow to the foolish cry for economic growth/greed to solve all our problems.  Thus, we have:

  • About 100 Kms of West Midlands railway lines bulldozed and built on.
  • Seven railway lines now destroyed in my own Dudley borough.
  • Constant building, demolition and rebuilding with the numbers of tower cranes in double figures, I guess.
  • When homes are built, they are still not being built to high energy efficient standards.  Not even passive solar heating, let alone active solar.
  • Last decade, two councillors at the Cradley community forum when I tried to get them to understand that our very own Black Country Railway was being destroyed and broken up into three different rail modes, told me that that was something councillors did not cover and redirected me to talk to Transport for W Midlands!
  • When I spoke to our very own dear Jules at our demo outside Wolverhampton Civic Centre, he did not know that 16 Summer Lane was the regional HQ of Transport and the WMCA (and Tram UK!).  But he was critical of what I was doing!
  • Our top officials and our elected members and MPs declare climate emergencies but then do nothing, apart from business as usual to rack up all our problems.
  • Since September 2001, we have had 'The Exchange' at Centenary Square being quite relaxed about their magnificent Grade 2 listed front doors being open throughout the day to let the warm air out and the cold air in.  A most colossal energy bill for them - the University of Brum, no less - and yet another example of climate ecocidal behaviour for a grim future.
  • The UK's major, urban-rural-urban, 22 Kms cycle-walkway is a mudway over some of its length and unsatisfactory over its entire length when compared with the 20 miles of the Gryffe Cycle-Walkway, west of Glasgow.
  • My own MP is not interested in anything, it seems and does not think anything is going wrong.  He is the epitomy of negligence, of acquiescence, of apathy and collusion with whatever the authorities want.

Never, ever by anyone, a spark of interest to check, challenge and question!

Monday, 22 May 2023

The emphasis should be ACCESS to our local, glorious countryside

Dear Peter and friends

I think the emphasis should be access to our local, glorious countryside because of climate ecocide and the exhaustion of oil/gas reserves and finite supplies of precious metals that are now going into batteries and PV solar.

I'm having a wonderful time exploring NW Worcestershire and S Shropshire, using the car much less by minimising my bombing off to Wales, the Peak District and Scotland.  Much shorter car journeys, then I get the bike out of the car to pedal without battery power to start my walk.  It is a great navigation exercise to find stiles and footbridges half buried in vegetation - that then needs clearing!

In doing my best to obediently stick to the public rights of way, I have the right to roam freely over 'empty' land, using pinpoint compass/map work to find my prize!  This land is our land, for us all to wander over, as long as we co-operate with our farmers and landowners by doing our best to stick to where they want us to go.  But, when they plough up or block public highways, as paths are, we then have to find another way!

140,000 miles of access rights for responsible exploring will keep me busy for a while!  And, always greet with a friendly hand raised the tractor driver, shepherd or farm worker you may meet.

Friday, 19 May 2023

The Western Way Will Prevail, to dominate the World!

Our freedom-loving societies of democratic nations are so wonderful, we now have very nearly all the former USSR satellite states on board, as we've expanded eastwards.  Democracy will dominate and we must do all in our power to extend the blessings of our traditional, centuries-old Christian culture to all and sundry around the world, especially to Taiwan as the stepping stone to conquering China.  That island is a good replacement for the loss, after 100 years, of Hong Kong to China.  "Go into all the world and make disciples" is the command of the Master Carpenter from Nazareth.

Our foreign policy is based on paranoia and fear, tit-for-tat expulsions and retaliation; hubris and MAD or mutually assured destruction.  Always thinking the worst of the other.  If we don't get in first, the evil other side will do us down.  Never mind that Putrid offered to help the USA after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.  He definitely can't be trusted and must have been up to no good when he made that offer.

Our security is all that matters and Russia and Pariah Putrid have nothing to fear with NATO coming right up to Russia's borders because we are the Shining Light on the hill, a beacon of bravery and good works, up against the Evil Russian Empire.

REJOICE!  The Ukraine War is a great blessing for our armaments industry and for economic growth/greed.  How wrong of the cowardly appeasers, pathetic pacifists and Stop the War members to want not a single UK weapon to be sold, let alone given away to the plucky Ukrainians.  Let the Russians and Ukrainians slug it out and kill each other as long as not a single UK citizen is injured or killed.  So there.

Our side resisted the loss of the Falklands in 1982 and victoriously won it back.  We dishonestly covered up the sinking of the Belgrano when it was outside the Exclusion Zone and sailing away from it.  Over 300 Argentinian sailors drowned unnecessarily.  But the Blessed Margaret was gallantly victorious in the following year's General Election on the strength of it.  So it was all so worthwhile.

We confiscated the Chagos Islands in the British Indian Oceans Territory to ensure Western control of that region against all comers.  In 1972 we just had to forcibly exile the Chagossians.  Such a pity but, it simply had to be done.

We overthrew wicked socialist governments like that in Chile in 1973 with an "economic war ordered by United States President Richard Nixon,[9] a group of military officers led by General Augusto Pinochet seized power in a coup of their own, ending civilian rule" - and, of course, many other coups have had Western support to put in our pro-Western, best and good man.  Ukraine was the latest, in 2014. (quote from Wikipedia)

We had our upright, pro-European firebrands sorting out the proper and fairly elected Yanukovych when he was seriously lent on by Pariah Putrid. So we sent the Ukrainian president packing to put in our own democratic man in our righteous Revolution of Dignity, of February 2014.  The 100 people killed was chicken feed.  Pity about the nine-year-old war ever since, though.  But it's not our fault.  No way Jose!

Anyway, ay ho, it is the men and women of violence on all sides who kill my family, friends and I.  They prolong the war with their revengeful death to the other - to the bitter end.  Paradise turned into disaster, death and desert.

Thursday, 18 May 2023

My cheeky, you are so awfully biased against trams, quiz

 QUIZ INSTRUCTIONS:

Do put the one word answer next to the question to get my non-existent prize (or is it non-existing?)  Or, put your one word answer against the number of the question.  Each answer is used once.  Feedback is welcomed, if not too slating!


ANSWERS: apartments, stations, trees, tarmac, trains.


QUESTIONS:

  1. What do you do to popularise the one and only, the longest, the wasted, the lonesome but awesome, 22 Kms Russells Hall Hospital and Black Country Cycle-Walk Mudway - in the whole of the UK?  Trams?

  2. When there are train services for the nation's only principal, mainline railway "of national strategic significance" at the Derby end in the NE and the Worcester end in the SW but nothing in the middle 56 Kms section, here in Dudley, what kind of transport should go in the middle?  Two different kinds of trams, as they’ve done on 7 Kms?

  3. When there are 23,000 sq m of wasted land designated for housing since the 1990s at Merry Hill Shopping Centre, with net inward migration in, 2021 of half a million (plus the 45,000 arriving on small boats in 2022) and, in 2022, of 606,000 (plus even more small boats in 2023), what should you put on that uncontaminated, brownfield land?  Trams, as planned?

  4. When you start the Black Country Urban Forest, what should you plant to finish the job on the great grassy embankments at Merry Hill Shopping Centre?  Build a 400 metre, concrete and steel, tramway viaduct?

  5. When you build High Scam 2 between the N edge of London and the centre of Brum, what do you have to furnish it with to get passengers on and off the trains?  Yet more trams? They do actually go to one terminus!!

to Monica Guise

 On Mon, 27 Mar 2023 at 08:56, Tim Weller <timweller1@gmail.com> wrote:

Hi Monica

 

Such is the urgency and importance of the climate emergency the authorities piously declared in June 2019, that I would urge you not to bother about arranging a meeting with me.  Instead, I would ask you to arrange a meeting, today between your Vice-Chancellor and the Leader of Brum City Council, Cllr Ian Ward and his Chief Executive, Deborah Cadman, plus the Conservation Officer, for action to be agreed over your ever open door policy of worsening the climate emergency rather than lessening it.

 

I have copied in their email addresses to make it easier for you to organise the meeting to, finally, get action.  There is no point in meeting with me.  Go straight to the top!


Since that email, Monica, I have been anxious not to send you down a blind alley of meeting with someone like me who is a complete nobody and irrelevance.  Your top priority was meeting with the VIPs, of which I am most definitely NOT one, who can help you to slash your massive energy bill by more quickly resolving the front doors issue.  I am happy to meet with you all once you have your much delayed front doors with their automatic self-closing mechanism - and, then to be wowed in wonderment!  It sounds as though Fiona was quite right when she told me in the winter that it would not be done until the summer.  Hence, my email, above.

Today, I finally read much of the 2030 Strategic Framework that is magnificent and reads perfectly but, it does not ring true when the University opened the lovely Exchange building in September 2021 but without one of the most basic and obvious reforms to actually slow the worsening climate emergency.  Hence, my futile and utterly failed tactic of insisting that I will meet with you only when the job is done.  It is still not done, is it Monica?  I daren't call in, again because I know I will see no change and be shattered!  Thus, you are losing my custom and my old man's pension pocket money!

Have you met with the VIPs to resolve the matter?  Don't bother with me - please.  Do tell me, perhaps, when the job is finished for me to cycle in from Halesowen to see, then the more sustainable and finally completed 'The Exchange' - my favourite coffee shop and conference/events centre.

Best wishes

Tim
PS bonus of 3 photos, 2 cartoons to amuse and inform:
PPS of my silly, answers supplied, quiz:

Wednesday, 17 May 2023

Outstanding national and personal role models

Dear Tony

For us all, it must be about self-examination, self-criticism, giving credit where credit is due, making friends instead of enemies, walking in the other person's shoes and setting a fine example in our personal behaviour.  And exemplary behaviour at work, especially for the politicians and civil servants in the FCO and the MOD.  More people like Katharine Gun and Clive Ponting.

Above all, trying more successfully to achieve, especially in our foreign policy, that the ends never justify the means and trying for much, much less hypocrisy.  We need many more honourable people like Robin Cook, Lord Hunt and John Denham in 2003.  And, the "122 Labour backbenchers, all of whom voted for a motion saying the case for war on Iraq was "not proven." " (Guardian)  Plus the two civil servants, years apart, who resigned on principle (the woman over Iraq) - Clive Ponting and Katharine Gun.

Gun was the British intelligence whistleblower in 2003 who revealed how the US/UK were planning to use underhand methods to ensure that the UN Security Council voted for the attack on Iraq.

Ponting sent a document to Labour MP, Tam Dalyell

The Nolan Principles and the Sermon on the Mount are also good starting points for a more professional and competent foreign policy!​
Tim

RHH NHS Trust

Dear Diane and Helen

You are doing so much but your easiest win is to raise the matter of your neighbouring cycle-walkway - only 800 m from your main patients' entrance

You wrote, "I am sure you are aware that much of the local “green” infrastructure is beyond our direct control."

It is even more beyond, my direct control but we can all ask for our local Cycle-Walk Mudway to be transformed, as a very easy win in our fight for a more sustainable society.  We can speak up for a community that is less addicted to finite fossil fuels that are also dangerously enhancing the natural greenhouse effect to make for a runaway greenhouse effect that was so devastating for our twin or sister planet venus (see Wikipedia).

You wrote, "there maybe underlying factors as to why it is not suitable as a cycle path."  I can assure you, Diane, it has been used for decades as an unofficial cycle path.  I have used it for years, as have others but you have to use a mountain bike to get through the mud in the Dudley section less than a mile from your hospital.  It can be made and USED as an active travel route for staff, patients and visitors, like me.  But you do have to be assertive and insistent and be very patient but, certainly not passive or aggressive of course!

You are doing so much but I would appeal to you that you please join me in emphasising the urgency of finishing what you call the "Kingswinford Railway Walk" so that we can all use it to get to and from RHH by cycle and on foot instead of always by car.

Everything else you are working on is brilliant, as I have read.  However, please Diane speak to the WMCA and Dudley Council about giving our cycle-walkway - only 800 metres from the hospital - a much higher priority in their active travel list of work to be completed.  Otherwise, we will continue to be passed over, ignored, seen as unimportant and thus forgotten for many more years.  We are already the poor relation, the forgotten Cinderella to Big Brother Brum that gets all the attention.  £62 million for their cycle-walkways last decade but only for them.  Please, let's stand up for ourselves!

At your next meeting that is open to the public, may I be allowed to ask for a verbal report on what the trust has done in progressing our hospital cycle-walk mudway so it can be used without wellies or boots or mountain bikes - please?

Who has spoken to whom and what was said, please?  Could I meet with you Diane, to show you what a disgraceful state the cycle-walkway is, when it could be such a superb facility and asset for us all to enjoy using?

Tuesday, 16 May 2023

Second to Norman Baker

Dear Norman

Thank you for your email.  Brilliant!

However, from your reply, it seems you have not read all the evidence I sent you about the tragic consequences of your disastrous decision.  Please read my attachments, Norman from my first email.  It is so important that you do so, please because CfBT from the days when it was Transport 2000 has always been in favour of tram developments.  And has CfBT ever opposed HS2?  Or has the organisation always been neutral on it from its start in 2009?

You wrote,
"I agree that tram schemes have tended to be overpriced (very true!) which is why I helped set up UK Tram to bring about common procurement, and also instigated a review of utility costs, a major factor." UK Tram Ltd was allowed in the same building as Centro, now Transport for West Midlands - and still to this day they remain at 16 Summer Lane.  Therefore, improper influence/vested interests at play, so please read my
What was the result of your "review of utility costs", please?

It may be the case that heavy rail may on occasion be a better option, but that is even more expensive by some distance. SELF:  That is not true, Norman.  Please read:
What I was keen to do was to lay down tracks where possible rather than relying on guided busways.  There was never any wish for guided busways in Birmingham or the Black Country.  Existing railway lines reinstated with railway trains was always a very secondary matter to the bigger, more expensive and prestigious prize of trams.  And NEVER for guided buses.  Only "bus on rails" trams (UK Tram Ltd quote, on the 'Today' programme, at the time of the Croydon Tramlink crash that killed or injured every one of the 69 passengers).

Norman, you were hoodwinked into giving your very costly and disastrous approval for the Metro extension that accelerated even more trams on railway lines and for taking over bus routes.
You thought that Snow Hill and Grand Central (aka New St station) would be linked, as you were told.  That was a lie.  You were deceived.  The tram now bypasses Snow Hill station and the nearest tram stop in Bull St is a 300 metres walk from tram platform to train platform!
Metro has meant two mainline railways being destroyed by Metro trams and two mainline stations gone forever - Wolverhampton Low Level and the former Dudley mainline station of 100 years that was mothballed for trains, until it was turned into a tram stop this decade!

CfBT has always been in favour of trams, the second most expensive transport mode to construct after HS2, and that has always prevented me from joining an otherwise excellent organisation.

For the record, it was Labour who won the Tories over to Metro trams in 1981, in the days of the county councillors and Cllr Phil Bateman.  But, if I remember correctly, won them over after committee discussion but no votes in full council in even one of the seven councils!  This was very different from Edinburgh City Council where the Conservatives vigorously opposed both of their highly expensive tram projects on grounds of cost and knowing the money could be more wisely spent on much more important priorities (for me, like retrofitting and the poor first).


Extravagant, very foolish, incompetent spending by the officers and members has worsened the climate emergency and put the WMCA in financial difficulties ever since last summer.  Transport projects, since then, remain seriously delayed and some suspended.

Please do write again, Norman.  Thanks for doing so, today - and for actually engaging.  Very good of you!

Tim - and have a go at my fun quiz, please, below:
PS bonus:

Monday, 15 May 2023

West Midlands Assembly - yet more of them!

Thanks for this, Richard.  I am very, very disappointed with each and every one of my elected representatives, including my hopeless, waste of time, James Morris MP.  They are very poorly informed, are simply not engaged and have allowed the most tragic, foolish and climate-catastrophic decisions to be made over the 55 years I have studied, worked and retired in the Black Country and Brum.  I don't want any more people getting elected because I have my work cut out in trying to work on the present lot!

Lea House well; Oak House rewilding opportunity

Dear David and partner

I'm the dad of Becky Willson, your neighbour.  My wife and I live in Halesowen in the Black Country.  I'm a guerrilla gardener, very minor environmentalist and small-time climate activist.

Yesterday, Annie and Hugh showed me their well.  It is very old and is no longer usable but it must have been vital for drinking, washing and cooking for decades.  Reservoirs, aqueducts and supply pipes in the Victorian age revolutionised health, comfort and convenience.  BUT!

"The World Meteorological Office State of the Global Climate report 2022 focuses on key climate indicators – greenhouse gases, temperatures, sea level rise, ocean heat and acidification, sea ice and glaciers. It also highlights the impacts of climate change and extreme weather.

  • Drought, floods and heatwaves affect large parts of the world and the costs are rising
  • Global mean temperatures for the past 8 years have been the highest on record
  • Sea level and ocean heat are at record levels – and this trend will continue for many centuries
  • Antarctic sea ice falls to lowest extent on record
  • Europe shatters records for glacier melt

"From mountain peaks to ocean depths, climate change continued its advance in 2022. Droughts, floods and heatwaves affected communities on every continent and cost many billions of dollars. Antarctic sea ice fell to its lowest extent on record and the melting of some European glaciers was, literally, off the charts.

"The State of the Global Climate 2022 shows the planetary scale changes on land, in the ocean and in the atmosphere caused by record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. For global temperature, 2015-2022 were the eight warmest on record despite the cooling impact of a La NiƱa event for the past three years. Melting of glaciers and sea level rise - which again reached record levels in 2022 - will continue for up to thousands of years."

(https://public.wmo.int/en/our-mandate/climate/wmo-statement-state-of-global-climate)

THEREFORE:

Can Oak House create a pond from the present puddles for somewhere for the excess water from the R Rea to overflow into?  There is a digger I saw yesterday, from Hugh and Annie's home that looks so forlorn and need of some work!

CO2 capturing trees are planted - brilliant but, can more be done, David like pond creation for the benefit of wildlife and biodiversity?

"at Freshwater Habitats Trust, we’re all about the wildlife. And from a flood management perspective, we advocate keeping flood water on land as long as possible rather then sending it quickly downstream (where it would likely just pass on any flooding issues to people downstream)."

https://freshwaterhabitats.org.uk/floods-and-land-management-myths-and-reality/


to Ian Ward, Liz Clements

This is a great plan but like many that I have seen over the 55 years I have studied, worked and retired in our city.  In that time, the inner ring road was built, only to be destroyed in two sections to bring yet more traffic lights and one way streets to cause unnecessary congestion and air pollution.  This, when the ring road was free flowing and, I thought, worked really well - like Coventry's ring road.

The middle ring road is slow going with all the traffic lights.  I'm thinking of my route from Hagley Road via Monument Road to Aston Expressway at Dartmouth Circus.  It cannot take the extra traffic by closing/greening the Queensway Tunnel on the A38.  I don't think the ring road does at all "constrain growth and disconnects our communities", as you said.  This was the planners' argument last century that ended in its part destruction.

My own suggestion is that you bring in a bus/business lane experiment on Hagley Road where it is dual carriageway, to act as an incentive for car commuters to leave their cars at home in order to free up road space for buses and essential business users.  They must register to avoid being charged as thoughtless car commuters must be for adding to the climate emergency.  Unregistered cars can, in addition, only use the overtaking lane and will be held up more to give bus and essential vehicles traffic lights priority on the nearside lane.  Bus, tram and train must be free for all passengers, at least, in the rush hours as their reward and bribe for using public transport.

Friday, 12 May 2023

to Norman Baker MP

Dear Norman

Well done for your excellent interview about yet bigger lorries on the 'Jeremy Vine Show' on Radio 2.

Was it your good self who finally gave the approval for Midland Metro on the mainline railway between Snow Hill Station, Brum and St Georges Sq, Wolverhampton in the 1990s when you were a Transport Minister?  But, as the Conservatives were in national government at the time, I must be wrong!  Or, was it the extension that you gave the go ahead to that bypassed Snow Hill station to get to Grand Central diesel perfumed, underground station in the basement of the John Lewis store (aka New St sta) when you were in coalition with the Conservatives?  That extension was meant to connect Snow Hill with Grand Central but that never happened and Snow Hill tram stop had to be renamed because it was an impossibly long walk to get to and from that tram stop and the station!  Now, Bull St tram stop is the nearest to Snow Hill station.  However, why were the passenger trains and stations not reinstated at a fraction of the price but, trams were chosen, instead?  Do you know, Norman?

That first mainline railway was destroyed with Metro One.  Now, the UK's very last, principal mainline 120 Kms (74 miles) railway between Worcester, the Black Country and Derby is getting the same treatment.  Would you like to read and comment on what I have uncovered as the UK's longest running and biggest finance/transport scandal - here, please?



Thanks and best wishes

Thursday, 11 May 2023

'ASK ANDY' in Dudley on Friday - TOMORROW! :- 5 Questions for Andy with the 5 one word answers supplied - but jumbled up!

ANSWERS: apartments, stations, trees, tarmac, trains.  Will Andy get the answers in the right order?! 

QUESTIONS:
What do you do to popularise the one and only, the longest, the wasted, the lonesome, 22 Kms Russells Hall Hospital and Black Country Cycle-Walk Mudway in the whole of the UK?

When there are train services for the nation's only principal, mainline railway "of national strategic significance" at the Derby end in the NE and the Worcester end in the SW but nothing in the middle section, here in Dudley, what kind of transport should go in the middle?

When there are 23,000 sq m of wasted land designated for housing since the 1990s at Merry Hill, with net inward migration last year of half a million (plus the small boats) and, this year, expected to be 700,000 (plus the small boats), what should you put on that uncontaminated, brownfield land?  Trams, as planned?

When you start the Black Country Urban Forest, what should you plant to finish the job on the great grassy embankments at Merry Hill?

When you build High Scam 2 between the N edge of London and the centre of Brum, what do you have to furnish it with to get passengers on and off the trains?

Tim Weller   0791 380 4363
PS bonus of 3 photos, 2 cartoons and an attempt at a little tongue in cheek writing

Wednesday, 10 May 2023

Building a grey, unsustainable, dead end society

Thanks, Josh for the email and all the very useful stuff I've read!  What great work you are all doing.

My own green (actually grey) transition is attempting to get others to join me in pointing out the bleeding obvious to get a more sensible dead end, grey, unsustainable, totally ungreen society.

It is nothing to do with worthy causes like renewables, net zero, low carbon, energy efficiency or being nature/planet/future friendly.  Simply about, when you start a project you don't leave it hanging in mid air - but you actually finish it - unbelievable!  But everyone else is totally unmoved, unshockable and honestly believe it's the most ordinary, normal and sensible thing to do!

For example, these photos:
20 years since the bridge was built but it is still wasted, unused, empty of trains as we all sit in traffic jams on the adjacent roads in the middle of the uncompleted 74 miles of railway with trains at the top and bottom ends but not in the middle 56 Kms where the worst congestion is!​
​I'm talking of the 120 Kms Worcs, Dudley, Derby principal mainline railway bridge completed in Dec 2003 when the M6 Toll opened.  But they forgot the trains.  Soon one line​​ was nicked by metal thieves!​​OR, this
​Empty, wasted railway lines leads to trams, instead at a cost second only to High Scam 2 and the planned destruction of the ​whole of this 400 metre canal embankment!​AND,
the part destruction of 23,000 sq metres at High Plateau, desperately needed for low cost, highly energy efficient, solar powered, 1/2 bedroom apartments.
​FINALLY,
the 22 Kms Black Country Cycle-Walk Mudway - the UK's only urban-rural-urban business, commuter and leisure route for food fueled, no longer fossil fools, active travellers by cycle, horse and by walking!

Does any of this give you any ideas for you to pick up on and run away with to your heart's content, Josh?!!
 
All the best