Monday, 27 February 2023

Grandiose, greedy Brum is bankrupting Britain - and it's not funny.

Perhaps, as my contribution on 13 March, it might be best to read out this, please Ed:

Grandiose, greedy Brum is bankrupting Britain - and it's not funny

You are all stupidly bankrupting Britain with the world's two most expensive transport projects, High Scam 2 and Metro trams.

The first is so fast it can't pick up or drop off a single passenger between London and Brum, apart from at Brum airport.  What use is that?

The second is so slow as it trundles so smoothly through the city centre that it is quicker to walk between the two city centre stations of Grand Central and Snow Hill.  Connecting them was the sole reason for doing it, would you believe!  Yet, you can't get off at Snow Hill because there is no tram stop there and the nearest, in Bull St is a 300 m walk to the Snow Hill platform - selfish, unnecessary, immoral Metro expenditure!

The next extravagant, greedy Metro extension is to connect Curzon St High Scam 2 station to Brum Airport when there is already a perfectly good and fast railway connection between Grandiose Central station and the airport already.  The tram is the greedy and slow connection.  Sheer stupidity!

At the most colossal expense, the tram connects Grandiose Central station with grandiose Centenary Square and Broad Street when an ordinary electric bus, without the rails, could have done the job at a fraction of the price and continued on the no 9 bus route to replace the diesel bus.

The future tram extension up Hagley Road nicely fells 1,000 trees and shrubs when millions more are needed to capture carbon dioxide to slow our ecocidal climate emergency you all so piously declared years ago - and then never acted on.  Hopeless!

SCRAP extensions to both High Scam 2 and greedy, immoral Metro.

Tim Weller

Sunday, 26 February 2023

Too exotic, expensive, extravagant to worsen our problems

Sprint is OTT - Metro even more so!

Use the Sprint money to bring in Fare-Free Public Transport for you youngsters, too and for everyone.  Not just my age group!

Use the Sprint money to bring in vital bus priority measures on all dual carriageway radial city centre roads as the carrot for commuters who don't need their cars for their jobs.  More road space is then made available for essential business users.

Use Sprint money and staff to insulate the homes of the poorest at a time of growing energy/climate crisis.

Sprint is far too expensive in price and in weight of GHG emissions.  Like Metro!

How do the officers decide when to go for Sprint and when for Metro and when to put in both modes?

What about bringing buses and trains up to standard and railway lines used for railway trains?

Remarkable Corbyn, successful Corbyn, socialist Corbyn lasted nearly 5 years - unbelievable!!

4 April 2020

Remarkable Corbyn, successful Corbyn, socialist Corbyn lasted nearly 5 years - unbelievable!!

How did he do it?  A man of the people, comforting the Grenfell survivors; standing up at PMQs for that workhorse and kingpin of transport modes - the bus; railing against all our many wars in foreign lands down the decades.


He skillfully steered a middle course over the Brexit shambles realising that his party was riven down the middle with pro and anti-Europeans.  The Brexit General Election was his undoing because he tried to be democratic, principled and wanted to give his party and the nation a final say in what should be done.  But the irrational, impatient electorate had had enough of all the shilly-shallying and simply wanted out after three and a half years of indecision.  Should he simply have seen the mood of the electorate for out and simply advised out and campaigned for out?  Would that have meant a much closer fight between Johnson and him last December?


He wanted massive spending to end austerity and to put things right for the poor, the disadvantaged and the vulnerable.  Ironically, spending is now happening with Covid-19 but not to build that fairer, more equal and sustainable society that should be everyone's top priority.


For me, he was the best Labour leader I have seen and probably the best since Keir Hardie.


--

MY PHOTOS: what you see described by one person as 'bizarre'; another called it 'bonkers':

Wasted 56 Kms from Stourbridge Jct to Burton on Trent on the ready built, but only half used, 120 Kms Worcester to Derby principal mainline railway:MISSION STATEMENT

Burton to Bristol via Brierley Hill; Derby to Devon via Dudley - by TRAIN not "bus on rails" trams as they are wanting; nor with new extended cycle-walkway, as volunteers are working on!

 

ASSORTED PROPAGANDA- don't get corrupted:

W Mids Metro means a slower and longer journey for bus users and other road users.

It means more train overcrowding with trams being the second most expensive mode after HS2, diverting money away from reinstating TRAINS on railway lines.

More clogged streets and more changes on the Worcester to Black Country to Derby principal mainline railway.


£1.5 BILLION of Metro trams for five extensions to 2026 does NOT build a more sustainable society.

Metro tram billions add to austerity, to poverty and greenhouse gases to turn planet earth into uninhabitable venus, our 'twin' and sister planet.


Apparently, billions spent to boost greenhouse gases to get us out of the second most important international alliance after the UN, as the planet both burns and floods!!  The housing crisis, social care/NHS cuts, education cuts.  BUT, spending on armaments has gone up to 2% of GNP.  A negligent, incompetent and foolish government.  Nothing quite like ecocide, courtesy of the Queen and Her Majesty's Gone out of their mind, so called, 'government'!


Tim Weller   Prospective Independent candidate for W Mids Metro Mayor 2021 to instil some urgency into how changes in transport, jobs and housing policy can reduce the impact of human climate breakdown and postpone Attenborough's "collapse of civilisations" and "extinction of much of the natural world" and "time is running out" warnings.


For a more sensible, cost effective and easier ways to reduce congestion and pollution.  Fareless, electric buses for ALL; not for the few, like me!  To free up road space for essential users.  Paid for by abandoning Metro, diesel Sprint and CAZ.

Saturday, 25 February 2023

Extravagance for the authorities; austerity for the rest of us - my definition of corruption!

Extravagance for the authorities; austerity for the rest of us - my definition of corruption!

£750 million for the grand Grand Central Shopping Centre, atrium and concourse with the mainline station put in the basement - tagged along as an afterthought.  Still, on the platforms and in the ‘Stop and Crawl’ car tunnel, poisonous diesel fumes to harm our health.  Still, no additional tunnels for the trains to ease train congestion!


£190 million magnificent New Library of Brum opened as smaller libraries closed or were given restricted opening hours.  Just like the new library in its second year of opening!


£86.6 million for Midland Metro trams to Centenary Square from Snow Hill Station (less than one mile) - to replace buses.  Cast iron business case for this profligacy, of course.


£62 million to promote cycling in Birmingham and to give away 5,000 free bikes to Brummies.  No business case of any kind, I believe.


£25 m for a tram on one line for one mile, and the test track on the other.  This prevents the Black Country ICE (inter city express) Line of 13 miles re-opening.


£10 million per mile for Beeching rural line re-opening in depopulated southern Scotland in September.  In this age of austerity, a strong business case was made.  Yet, nothing for the Black Country ICE (inter city express) Line that remains closed.


£100 million per mile for smooth, sleek electric trams to return to Brum city centre to replace hybrid buses.  In this age of austerity, a robust business case made the funding vital.  Yet, nothing for the Black Country ICE Line that remains closed.


£130 million for 1.5 Km (just under one mile) that includes some new trams for the Eastside extension.  In this age of austerity, an unassailable business case was made for the project to go ahead.  This is 13 times more expensive than reinstating passenger trains and stations on nearly 50 miles of freight only lines, like the unused Black Country ICE (inter city express) Line.


£1,000 million per mile (estimate) for HS2 to come to Curzon Street Station in 2026.  Whatever the cost, the watertight business case made this project essential.  It is absolutely vital for the transport and economic health of the nation.  Isn't it funny, that there is still nothing for the Black Country ICE Line that remains closed to passengers?


Isn’t it funny that every business case that is written strongly confirms whatever the unthinking, grey-suited, fine old politicians of ours, want?

15 July 2015

Friday, 24 February 2023

from Alastair McIntosh 25 July 2022

Hi Tim (and Jonathon)

I see it a little differently than Jonathon. I completely get the logic of what he is saying. The logic of war is impeccable all the way up to nuclear war. But not least as a Quaker, I don’t think that war has to be the only way. For me, nonviolence is a spiritual and not an instrumental approach. It may entail the way of the cross, though it may also be the key to “kingdom” or as I prefer to translate it, “community come”.

 

Nonviolence is not a tap that can be turned on and off at will. It is an integrated approach to life. With Ukraine, and other wars such as those the west has recently engaged in, the question is not just what do you do now, it is what have you been doing all along to, as Quakers put it, “take away the occasion of all war”. I address this in two very short articles that I wrote for Quaker publications at the time of the Ukraine invasion, here.  I address it more fully in my military addresses, a summary of which in a British military ethics handbook is here. And I attach the uncorrected proofs of my chapter in the forthcoming The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Religion and Peace.

 

What might have been the alternative for Ukraine? I would point to the nonviolent response of Czechoslovakia in 1968, and the “parallel polis” (see the Vaclav Benda and Vaclav Havel et al. paper attached) that then took root and helped to seed the freedom that emerged from Glastnost a generation later in 1989. Yes, it took a generation, but it helped to inspire wider freedom across the former USSR, and the pity is that the West squandered the peace dividend as Gorbachev has ruefully observed – see, for example, here and here (where in 2016 he blasted western “triumphalism”).  

 

I would love to have more time to study the Czechoslovakian response (and criticisms of it) more closely. Meanwhile, I would observe that they emerged with their country and a generation of their young men mostly intact. With Ukraine, whenever I hear the calls to pump in more weaponry, I ask “How’s the war going”. And I lament, especially where both Russia and Ukraine have a Christian foundation from which, if they cared to heed the gospels and especially their culmination in John 18:36, they might have proceeded.

 

Alastair


Many thanks for this, Alastair.

I do love John 18:36 that is marked in my Bible with a lovely Christmas card from my three Halesowen South ward councillors and MP, James Morris from a few years ago - but has never been repeated!  And, I adore the alternative Rule of Jesus in the Gospels to the Rule of Johnson and Patel, Sunak and Truss that is so barren, unenlightened and contrary to the community of Christ based on justice, equality and the Other First and Foremost.

Thanks to both of you.

Why is Europe the most violent and destructive continent?

Why is Europe the most violent and destructive continent in the world and, in recent centuries, the most rapacious with its colonial collection of peoples and countries around the world?  All this, despite its adherence to Biblical teaching for centuries with love of God and neighbour and love the enemy/other being so prominent!

Tuesday, 21 February 2023

Letter: "HS2 is good news for freight" January 'Railnews'

Could John Hampson explain to a dunderhead layman like me how, exactly, HS2 will mean that the WCML will be able to take more freight as former intercitiy passengers pile onto HS2.  His argument goes that intercity trains will be fewer, or no more and so leave room for more freight and local trains.

That may be his explanation but, how can it be when HS2 trains are planned to stop at only two airports between London and Manchester and even Brum and Crewe only get some trains.  Therefore, you still need the same service of intercity trains to actually stop at all the intercity stations that HS2 is far too fast to stop at.

Or, am I missing something?

Gas has no long term future

Get PV solar on as much of your roof as you can.

Next, ideally, use electricity when the sun is shining but each appliance one at a time - consecutively.

We are slowly getting more electricity from renewables, unlike depleting gas which has a shorter lifespan than renewables. Gas is also bad news because of the Ukraine War.

Sunday, 19 February 2023

to Duncan Dollimore

Good morning Duncan and Adam

I fully agreed with everything you said, Duncan just now.  Excellent!

I am not so pleased with the UK's only major 22 Kms, urban-rural-urban cycle-walkway is not, I fear, seeing any progress, whatsoever.  This is the Black Country Cycle-Walk Mudway.  It must be the UK's very worst major commuter, business and leisure route for all non fossil-fuel users.  It really does need urgent upgrading but the West Midlands Combined Authority has its priorities on other more flash, fancy, expensive transport projects.

Adam is our Cycling Supremo and, I'm sure, is doing his very best.  However, the climate emergency demands a much higher priority for cycling and away from fossil fuels.

Best wishes

You are head and shoulders above the other leaders

Dear Ian

I, and I'm sure others, sit up when you start speaking.  You speak up, you speak concisely, eloquently and you speak sense.  You challenge and question what you read and what officers tell you.  Brilliant!

Perhaps, money from the Commonwealth Games legacy, and £2m was mentioned, needs to go to help pay for the Aquatics Centre's energy bill.  Even more importantly, PV solar must go on the roof to provide free electricity.  And rooftop PV everywhere rather than solar farms needed to grow our food.  Sandwell may have the highest proportion of low income households in our region.  They need help first.

The WMCA Economic Growth Board really must hear from Sir Jonathon Porritt (email address, above as I've copied his office in) concerning positive, helpful, constructive green growth for the Combined Authority.

TRANSPORT essentials:

Stop destroying or, not fully using, urban railway lines.  It only adds to road traffic congestion and all our woes!

You must have the courage to say 'No' to yet more conversions of vital railway lines and roads to tramlines.

Be content with trams from Dudley town centre to Sandwell and Brum.


If you must do WBHE Phase 2, eventually, then keep the trams on the railway line to connect with the national railway network at Stourbridge Jct.  Existing freight trains at night.


DO NOT destroy nature (we are also part of nature!) by wiping out the Dudley Canal No 1, 400 metre canal embankment, vital but wasted for decades housing land and, my guerrilla garden at Merry Hill.


Get to grips with car commuters who don't need their treasured possession for their job.  They clog up the roads for essential business users.  They get rewarded for leaving their car at home with Fare-Free Public Transport (FFPT) that I've had for 15 years, I'm so old.


The Clean Air Zone and 60 mph on the urban M5 are both brilliant - for health reasons and to respond to climate breakdown.  Both have kept you in power.  Going further is essential, I think.  Getting commuter cars off the roads helps business and more sustainable green growth.  Publicity campaigns and FFPT are essential to make healthy car commuters as antisocial as smoking in public.


ESSENTIAL READING, from my pen!





Best wishes

Unacceptable prejudice shown against non-constituent members of the WMCA

 

Tim Weller timweller1@gmail.com

Sat, 18 Feb, 08:24 (1 day ago)
to DavidTrevorTrevorDorothyOwenIngridTonyCustomerLauraMayor'sJamesIan
Dear friends

Worcestershire CC is a non-constituent member of the WMCA but is sidelined, overlooked and neglected with its joke, slum of a disgraceful bus station at Kidderminster, with its nearby oddity of a Victorian, 'coffin-rest' like bus shelter.

In contrast, Brum and its Hagley Road, has 1,000 carbon sequestering trees and shrubs that are planned to be felled to bring in immoral Metro, super Sprint buses and, indeed, the existing Platinum buses must still remain to serve the parts that Metro and Sprint don't get to.  Kidderminster does not even get Platinum!

PLEASE ACT!  This must be our major transport campaign for this year and into the future.  Does anyone agree with me?

Please respond.  Best wishes.

Tim Weller   0791 380 4363

On Fri, 17 Feb 2023 at 08:08, Tim Weller <timweller1@gmail.com> wrote:
Dear friends

During our excellent talk on scams from the police at Halesowen Pensioners' meeting yesterday, I woke up to how High Scam 2, and ongoing extensions of Metro and Sprint are all scams.  Let me explain:

High Scam 2 between London and Manchester goes so fast that it can only drop off and pick up passengers at two airports, with only some trains stopping at Brum and Crewe.  We have been sold the lie that it will increase capacity on the railway network and, therefore, more trains and services will be seen on the existing railway lines.  Over a hundred billions pounds in price and in weight of dangerous greenhouse gas emissions are being spent to give us a choice of either flying through the air on a plane or, on land in an HS2 train.  Why all that damage and destruction to benefit only the wealthy and plane flyers having the choice of train or plane?

As regards Metro trams costing at least £15 billion (2020 figure) for 150 miles and eight lines by 2040 this gives us:
  1. flash, smart, smooth trams, certainly but, even the nationwide tram promotion group insist it is a "bus on rails".
  2. The trams simply replace or duplicate buses that all need to be electric and which are already being phased in, anyway.
  3. Why yet more expense, yet more climate breakdown to put buses on rails on roads when tyres on roads are perfectly adequate?
  4. The idea is that you walk to the bus to take you to the train station.  You get off at your destination station for the bus to take you to your final destination.
  5. On Hagley Road, Brum we will be seeing 1,000 trees and shrubs felled on the south, westbound side for the Metro extension to Bearwood.  Nature is desperately needed to slow deteriorating life support systems from the escalating climate emergency.
Sprint buses are the super dooper buses that think they are trams, we are told.  BUT,
  • Less than ten years ago, we were informed that, for £12 m, Sprint diesel buses were to be put down Hagley Road to Quinton on the border with Dudley borough.
  • Therefore, you will still need the Platinum buses to take you on to Halesowen and Stourbridge.
  • This means a change of transport mode and a delay in your  journey.
  • Plus, Metro trams, along with Sprint and the regular buses all on the two lanes of Hagley Road.
INSTEAD
Use the money to give all non pensioners the free public transport that we have enjoyed for decades.
Plus, the bus priority measures on dual carriageways to speed the bus and inconvenience the selfish, thoughtless car commuters who clog up the roads for bus, lorry and other essential business users who must use their vehicles.

How can there be greater economic justice for the poor, who include pensioners, when hundreds of millions of pounds in both price and in weight of greenhouse gas emissions is being spent on these three major transport construction projects from the WMCA?

Our transport planners at 16 Summer Lane do so love their big, flash, fancy engineering projects to keep them in work.  But, they can all be redeployed into our


Tim Weller - and could each of you please respond, this time?  THANKS!
PS bonus of 3 photos, 2 cartoons to add a little merriment to your day:

Friday, 17 February 2023

Use public money for really effective solutions to congestion, pollution and climate

Dear friends

During our excellent talk on scams from the police at Halesowen Pensioners' meeting yesterday, I woke up to how High Scam 2, and ongoing extensions of Metro and Sprint are all scams.  Let me explain:

High Scam 2 between London and Manchester goes so fast that it can only drop off and pick up passengers at two airports, with only some trains stopping at Brum and Crewe.  We have been sold the lie that it will increase capacity on the railway network and, therefore, more trains and services will be seen on the existing railway lines.  Over a hundred billions pounds in price and in weight of dangerous greenhouse gas emissions are being spent to give us a choice of either flying through the air on a plane or, on land in an HS2 train.  Why all that damage and destruction to benefit only the wealthy and plane flyers having the choice of train or plane?

As regards Metro trams costing at least £15 billion (2020 figure) for 150 miles and eight lines by 2040 this gives us:
  1. flash, smart, smooth trams, certainly but, even the nationwide tram promotion group insist it is a "bus on rails".
  2. The trams simply replace or duplicate buses that all need to be electric and which are already being phased in, anyway.
  3. Why yet more expense, yet more climate breakdown to put buses on rails on roads when tyres on roads are perfectly adequate?
  4. The idea is that you walk to the bus to take you to the train station.  You get off at your destination station for the bus to take you to your final destination.
  5. On Hagley Road, Brum we will be seeing 1,000 trees and shrubs felled on the south, westbound side for the Metro extension to Bearwood.  Nature is desperately needed to slow deteriorating life support systems from the escalating climate emergency.
Sprint buses are the super duper buses that think they are trams, we are told.  BUT,
  • Less than ten years ago, we were informed that, for £12 m, Sprint diesel buses were to be put down Hagley Road to Quinton on the border with Dudley borough.
  • Therefore, you will still need the Platinum buses to take you on to Halesowen and Stourbridge.
  • This means a change of transport mode and a delay in your  journey.
  • Plus, Metro trams, along with Sprint and the regular buses all on the two lanes of Hagley Road.
INSTEAD
Use the money to give all non pensioners the free public transport that we have enjoyed for decades.
Plus, the bus priority measures on dual carriageways to speed the bus and inconvenience the selfish, thoughtless car commuters who clog up the roads for bus, lorry and other essential business users who must use their vehicles.

How can there be greater economic justice for the poor, who include pensioners, when hundreds of millions of pounds in both price and in weight of greenhouse gas emissions is being spent on these three major transport construction projects from the WMCA?

Our transport planners at 16 Summer Lane do so love their big, flash, fancy engineering projects to keep them in work.  But, they can all be redeployed into our


Tim Weller - and could each of you please respond, this time?  THANKS!

HOMES NOT TRAMS

23,000 sq m, no less at High Plateau, Merry Hill if only it can saved from immorally extravagant Metro trams and ALL of it used for 1/2 bedrooms, highly energy efficient, solar-powered apartments for those most badly housed now, including migrants.  Wasted, unused for decades - since the 90s, I believe.  We have a housing crisis NOT a crisis over too few trams! Right priority, please Andy, my friend.

Thursday, 16 February 2023

Transport and climate essentials

TRANSPORT

Stop destroying or, not fully using, urban railway lines.  It only adds to road traffic congestion and all our woes!

You must have the courage to say 'No' to yet more conversions of vital railway lines and roads to tramlines.

Be content with trams from Dudley town centre to Sandwell and Brum.


If you must do WBHE Phase 2, then keep the trams on the railway line to connect with the national railway network at Stourbridge Jct.  Freight trains at night.


DO NOT destroy nature (we are also part of nature!) by wiping out Dudley Canal No 1, 400 metre canal embankment and housing land at Merry Hill.

Wednesday, 15 February 2023

FREE UP ROAD SPACE FOR ESSENTIAL BUSINESS USERS

Road pricing for all who commute by car but don't need their vehicle for their job; but, Fare-Free Public Transport, with quicker bus priority measures on all two-lane bus sections of road, as their reward for leaving it at home.  2 year trial on Hagley Road between Halesowen and Birmingham's ring road at Five Ways.

The two essential measures, above.  Abandon high greenhouse gas emitting construction, especially on High Scam 2, Metro LR trams, as well as VLR trams.  Keep it simple and stick to bus and train from now on.  Mini-buses for rural and less popular routes.

Get the funds to put a cycle-walkway alongside both sides of the Dudley Southern Bypass, aka Duncan Edwards Way.  Urgently upgrade the UK's major non-fossil fuel, active travel, 22 Kms Black Country Cycle-Walk Mudway so that it no longer has that description. It runs from Fens Pool Avenue, Brierley Hill's DY5 Enterprise Zone to NW Wolverhampton and beyond.

Move away from giving top priority to trams replacing buses and trains with commuter/regional trains on our surviving railway lines.

For active travel, give top priority to giving us a free draining, puddle-free, hard surface on all Black Country and Coventry towpaths, as you did in Brum last decade.

Monday, 13 February 2023

Chris Packham on HS2

FROM:-   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqsYX5zdSU0

We are in a climate emergency.

It's more of a plane than a train.

We are in an ecological emergency.

Endangered species.

Water

Tearing open the countryside.

Vast sums of taxpayers' money being used to destroy nature.

HS2 is already obsolete

It is taking us in the wrong direction.

HS2 is severing our connections with the land.

Destroying democracy

The West is also to blame for Ukraine War

FROM CHRIS NINEHAM of Stop the War Coalition

"Just a few months ago even leading military figures in the US were saying publicly that negotiations were necessary to end this war. Like almost all conflicts, the war in Ukraine will ultimately end in negotiations, but the current policy of escalation makes the prospect of peace talks more and more remote, prolonging the agony of the Ukrainian people.

"Despite this and repeated warnings from foreign policy experts that there can be no winners in this war and that NATO policy over the last few decades has contributed to the crisis, there is no space in the British media or politics for anti-war voices.

"It is crucial in these circumstances that everyone who is against escalation from both sides and wants to see a peaceful resolution to this terrible war takes a public stand."

Sunday, 12 February 2023

2023 February Board meeting

Dear Cathy

You are a correctly paid member of the WMCA, I believe, as Chair of the two Scrutiny committees.  I am writing, yet again, because of your importance and vital work in looking after the public purse in getting value for money, with your scrutiny role.  This email is why I believe we are not.  Please correct me over anything I have written, here or, in the broken Nolan principles, attached.

I am very concerned about the state of the nation's finances - at the bottom of the G20 and G7 table of nations, I saw from Simon Jack's report on BBC TV, ​last week.  Too much overspending and spending on the wrong things - like funding ​an avoidable, proxy war against Russia and a useless HS2 that is so fast it can't stop to take on and drop off passengers, apart from ​at either end and two airports.  Even Brum and Crewe get bypassed by some HS2 trains!

The state of the WMCA's finances are in an equally parlous state, it seems.  Is that right?  Far too many extravagant, prestigious transport projects while the basics, like bus drivers, bus services and bus use, are all declining.  Far too much money is spent to impress and wow visitors, instead of on basic matters like retrofitting our leaky and energy hungry buildings.  Is the Brum Council House refurbishment also including insulation and solar power?  Is anything at all being done about the homes of the poorest in the region?  Only for 300 homes, if the householders agree, in Brierley Hill.  WMCA Metro extension money and staff must go to these far finer and important projects.  And, in convincing people of the urgent need to cut back on gas/electricity use.

On Friday, lights were blazing away in the enormous Banqueting Suite opposite the Council Chamber where we were.  Great Victorian radiators were covered in wooden panelling that was absorbing the heat and energy and not letting it out - apart from a metal grill at the front.

On Friday, there was a correct concern from Mark Smith about inquorate meetings.  Why are our elected representatives not showing greater interest?  If a councillor misses two consecutive meetings when there has been no sickness or bereavement, he/she should be replaced by a council member who can attend.  And participate!  There is too little concern and, certainly, no alarm at so many things not being done, as here from the W Mids Climate Coalition
My writings get ignored and never corrected or addressed or put right.  Neither support, encouragement or condemnation from a single person!  My
don't even get a scintilla of interest and the individual paper copy gets left behind where Board members sat or, were not accepted from me in the first place.  No-one is disturbed or woken up.  There is just total apathy, acquiescence and an attitude of 'Oh, I just can't be bothered'.  Even from journalists who show not one ounce of courageous, investigative spark. 

At Friday's meeting Board members were not speaking into their microphones.  Andy was the best at using his mike.  My 75 year old hearing and eyesight are both failing and people must speak into the red light of the switched on microphone right in front of their very eyes.  Ian Ward, Mark Smith and Mike Bird also spoke up well so that I could hear them.

This, below, is from Chris Packham about his and his colleagues audit re HS2

"3,707 views 8 Feb 2023
HS2 Ltd, the company responsible for the HS2 railway, had promised to make up for the damage the route would cause to nature. Concerned by the huge risk to wildlife that the current route poses, we've spent almost a year looking into the official HS2 nature loss calculations. And the numbers don't add up. No-one has checked the detail. Until now. During our audit we found seriously flawed and out-of-date methodologies and a long list of errors - including habitats wrongly identified or undervalued by the company, and new planting overvalued. (my emphasis) The evidence shows that far more nature will be lost along the route than anyone ever expected. We're asking supporters to sign an open letter to Defra and Department for Transport to call an immediate stop to HS2 whilst these issues are rectified: www.wildlifetrusts.org/hs2-sign-our-open-letter"Best wishes

Wednesday, 8 February 2023

UK started arming and training Ukrainian troops in 2014 ...

 ...but never bothered to press for talks to negotiate and end the war so that compromise with Russia was reached. NATO should have immediately, in March 2014, attempted a negotiated settlement so that both sides gained something and lost something.

The match to light the inferno was the coup and the disastrous ousting of a properly and fairly elected pro Russian President Yanukovych after years of American led NATO expansionism eastwards to leave Russia with nothing.  The final indignity was Obama calling Russia a regional power - a shocking and provocative insult.  And I bet he never withdrew it and apologised to Putrid.  Putrid may have thought, "Right.  I'll show him."

Certainly, our wonderful Revolution of Dignity was like a red rag to a bull - to Putrid. 

Emily Stubbs on 'PM' re HS2

No scaling back of HS2 to meet levelling up and net zero challenges.

"It will free up capacity on our traffic compatible network.  The cheapest and quickest way to create the extra required  capacity to run more local commuter, regional and freight trains is by building HS2 by freeing up that capacity on local networks."

England's Bus Recovery Grant may not be extended from 1 April

Needs to be put on life support.

Pandemic support measure to help bus services.  Expires end of March.

Can't manage without support.  Services withdrawn.

Rob Parsons edits Northern Agenda newsletter.  Not regular or reliable enough.  Passenger numbers falling inexorably in the north for decades.

Drop off sped up after pandemic.  Bus system under public control in Gt Manchester.  Andy Burnham model to have greater control.  But amount of money put in is all important.  Franchise system or commercial system.

Graham Vidler, Chief Exec of Confederation of Passenger Transport

Falling passenger numbers and rising costs. 20% decline next year compared with a decade ago.


New office will have lowest carbon footprint in construction and operation

Approval tipped for £31m project to build UK's lowest carbon office

Energy would be generated on-site at a number of locations, including two building fa├žades, the roof and the car park, all acting as a series of mini power plants.

A smart building management system would also ensure the space is managed effectively which will reduce running costs for customers.

Bruntwood Works added that as the UK’s lowest carbon new build workspace, the project would:

  • Achieve net zero in both construction and operation
  • Meet the LETI 2020 design target for upfront carbon, the RIBA 2025 performance targets on whole life carbon, and the UKGBC Paris Proof target on operational usage
  • Follow the UK Green Building Council’s net zero carbon framework
  • Target NABERS 5.5 stars and BREEAM Excellent ratings
  • Be 100% electric and generate 94% of total energy demand on-site, with the remainder sourced from Bruntwood’s cooperatively owned wind farm in Ayrshire

Speaking in November Ciara Keeling, CEO of Bruntwood Works, said: "In submitting our plans for Ev0, we are proud to provide yet more meaningful contribution to Manchester’s ambition of becoming a carbon neutral city by 2038.

"Since becoming the UK’s first commercial property company to sign the World Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment in 2018, we have strived to lead the way in the market, placing sustainability at the heart of everything we do.

"Ev0 is the culmination of all our work to date, taking everything we have learned to create the UK’s lowest carbon new build.

"And as part of this, we will continue to be fully transparent about presenting data and assessments to ensure that we stay true to our commitments and to allow Ev0 to become a blueprint for net zero construction in the industry."

Oil and gas producers 0.13% of their energy production from renewables in 2022

It's been a week of simmering anger among some climate campaigners thanks to "grotesque" record profits from oil and gas firms.

On Wednesday, Equinor - one of the UK and Europe's largest gas producers - posted underlying earnings of £61.9bn, more than double the £27.7bn it made in 2021. The Norwegian operator's results followed similar bumper profits from BP and Shell at £23bn and £33bn respectively, which came after last year's soaring energy prices.


Campaigners have taken aim at the firms for raking in huge profits while households and businesses are suffering amid a cost of living crisis and claim the companies have made little progress in switching to renewable energy sources.


Greenpeace hit out at Equinor's profit announcement and reiterated its call for a bigger windfall tax on the sector. Protesters from climate campaigners Parents for Future, Mothers Rise Up, and HERO UK Climate Justice Circle were also staging a demonstration outside Equinor's London headquarters in protest at its figures and its plans to develop Rosebank, the UK's largest undeveloped oil field.


The activists at Equinor's headquarters described the figures as "grotesque". Mel Evans, Greenpeace UK's head of UK climate, added: "Equinor is the latest fossil fuel giant to post record profits looted from bill payers' pockets while destroying the climate last year.


"Just 0.13% of its energy production came from renewables in 2022. Instead of giving out more tax breaks for oil and gas drilling, the Government needs to claw back these massive profits and use them to insulate people's homes and scale up renewable energy."

Monday, 6 February 2023

Transport and Housing Reforms are vital

TRANSPORT

Stop destroying or, not fully using, urban railway lines.  It only adds to road traffic congestion and all our woes!

You must have the courage to say 'No' to yet more conversions of vital railway lines and roads to tramlines.
Be content with trams from Dudley town centre to Sandwell and Brum.
If you must do WBHE Phase 2, then keep the trams on the railway line to connect with the national railway network at Stourbridge Jct.  Freight trains at night.
DO NOT destroy nature (we are also part of nature!) by wiping out Dudley Canal No 1, 400 metre canal embankment and housing land at Merry Hill.  See plan:


Use the long, high embankment as part of the Black Country Urban Forest to sequester carbon dioxide, a dangerous greenhouse gas.
FINISH what you started and return trains/stations to the ready built, 120 Kms line "of national strategic significance" 

from Worcester to Derby via the historic capital of the Black Country - us!  As Railfuture want, here:


HOUSING
Build homes not trams on the 23,000 sq metres of High Plateau, Merry Hill.  See plan, above.
1/2 bedroom apartments, highly energy efficient and solar powered for the most badly housed and migrants.
Get migrants helping to build their own homes.  Lobby government for the necessary changes in rules/regs/laws.
Ask Cllr Mike Bird, Leader of Walsall Council, for his architect's brainwave of putting housing apartments around the outside of multi-storey car parks.
Would it work on the land used for the visitors' car park at Russell Hall Hospital and, make more parking spaces, too?

LEARN FROM NOLAN: