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Birmingham - a Cycle City? Birmingham’s Bid to be a ‘Cycle City’ Early in the year Cycling England, the body charged with developing cycling provision announced innovative plans for six cycling towns and a cycling city. The Department for Transport (DfT) would fund the scheme to the tune of £140m! Towns and cities across England were invited to bid for funding from the DfT. The cycle city fund would provide the successful applicant with £5-10 per head of population for three years. In Birmingham’s case this would amount to £5-10 million per year enabling substantial improvements in cycling provision, and promotion leading to a significant increase in the level of cycling. The scheme builds on the success of the Cycling Demonstration Towns scheme, in which selected towns, such as Darlington and Aylesbury were able to achieve impressive increases in levels of cycling. Continued on Page 12

3 - Warehouse News 5

- Campaigns Digest


- LETS what it’s all about


- Development and the environment

11 - Wasted food 12

- Birmingham a cycle city?


- Emissions from shipping


- Bus lane enforcement


- New Street station

19 - Volunteer Spotlight 20 - Prius driver 21

- Diary


- Membership Form

23 - Contacts


A Fond Farewell This month we said a fond farewell to Tamsin Mosse, general manager of the Warehouse for the past 2 years. She has left us for the greener pastures of the Clent Hills working for the National Trust and we couldn’t let her leave without a pair of soon to be essential wellington boots. Tamsin will be missed but her legacy to the warehouse will live on with the volunteers she trained, the Elephant Poo products now available in our shop, the art exhibitions in the warehouse cafe and much much more! Thank you Tamsin.

Annual General Meeting Monday 9th June at 7.30 The Warehouse, 54-57 Allison Street, Digbeth Includes full report of the year’s campaigns, developments in and around the Warehouse, presentation of accounts for 2007/08; also election of management committee. For more information call 0121 6326909.

Building Away Day Saturday 26th July Castle Vale Library Includes full report of the year’s campaigns, developments in and around the Warehouse, presentation of accounts for 2007/08; also election of management committee. If you want to have a say on the buildings future call 0121 632 6909.


The shops and companies here have all come together because they are dedicated to working towards a healthier, more organic city. So if you want to help make Birmingham a cleaner, greener place to live, or you just want to eat some good vegetarian food, then come to The Warehouse and see what’s going on.


Sales, service, repairs, accessories. Bikes also built to your own specifications.

Established over 15 years ago in the Friends of the Earth Building in Birmingham The Warehouse Café has a reputation as a quality provider of vegetarian and vegan food in Birmingham. “Real people serving real food with local, organic and fair trade leading the way” Guardian Unlimited. To see the delicious menu go to For bookings and enquires Telephone 0121 633 0261 Email


Open Wednesday to Saturday, 10am-4pm 0121 633 0730

• 100% vegetarian and vegan • A Large selection of organic and fairtrade products, most supplied and delivered by a workers co-operative • Vegan owners - no meat or dairy products sold Open Monday to Saturday, 10am-5pm

Campaigns Digest ‘A little bit of everything’ sums up what we have been doing in the past couple of months. The Climate Change Bill campaigning has very nearly come to a close. Our one last big push was an action day on the issue of aviation emissions. Two Birmingham FoE campaigners, dressed as an air steward and sea captain, joined Oxfam and Christian Aid on Harborne High Street where passers-by signed ‘plane-shaped’ postcards calling on Gordon Brown to include international aviation and shipping emissions in the Climate Change Bill; the cards may well have arrived at the House of Commons by the time this goes to print. The Bill has already passed through the House of Lords where it was strengthened in many ways.

Louise Hazan and John Newson asking for shipping and aviation to be included in the climate change bill.

The following weekend, we held another day of action - this time, on the Pershore Road in Stirchley. Campaigners dressed up as ghosts, wearing white sheets (we didn’t really know what ghosts look like!). We highlighted the fact that local

shops are under threat from the proposal to build a huge new Tesco supermarket nearby. Campaigners Joe, Emma and Sarah visited local shopkeepers to ask their views and to distribute our posters and leaflets. From speaking to locals, it was clear that the closure of the Post Office has already had significant damage on local trade. A packed-out speaker event in Solihull on the extension of Birmingham Airport’s runway resulted in a majority of residents opposing the extension by a ratio of 2 to 1. Local MP, Lorely Burt, and John Morris from Birmingham Airport spoke in favour of the extension, while AirportWatch’s John Stewart and Friends of the Earth’s Chris Crean spoke against. Energetic and impassioned pleas in the audience ensured that the debate, chaired by Solihull News Editor Ross Crawford, was fast-moving and kept everyone thinking. Subsequent media coverage was impressive and included a Birmingham Post front page article based on research by Phil Burrows, an in-depth analysis using much of our own arguments, and a full-page feature written by James Botham. We were privileged to have Birmingham University Masters student, Roxanne Green, with us for two weeks. Roxanne did some splendid work researching the background for and writing an election questionnaire for all of the candidates at Solihull Council’s local elections. The responses are on our


Campaigns Digest website and we briefed the press of our findings. Roxanne, along with former teacher Dave Watton, ran four workshops on climate change for year 8 pupils at Cockshutt Hill School in Sheldon for their Citizenship Day. Further outreach was done by myself when I was privileged to speak at the Legal Services Commission’s Green Day. Ministry of Justice regulations have banned bins in their offices! On transport, we have expressed our views on the draft cycling strategy for the city while in the areas of biodiversity and climate change, we have learned of the new Friends of the Earth national campaign on biofuels, where most types have



shown themselves to be a false solution to the climate problem. We hope to take part in this campaign over the summer. Contact us if you want to get involved! But the best news from the past two months has to be that the Faith and Climate Change project, led by Maud Grainger, has got through to the final 100 bids in the NESTA Big Green Challenge competition where initiatives from all over the country are ‘battling’ for a slice of £1 million to deliver their project plans and benefit from the support of consultants. Keep your eyes on this one! Chris Williams

LETS What it’s all about? The Local Exchange Trading Scheme (LETS) is a barter system. It has been going in Birmingham for at least ten years now.

It is empowering and keeps value in the local community. It also enables us to create value at the point of exchange.

It is empowering and keeps value in the local community. It also enables us to create value at the point of exchange. It helps people to realise their worth, that we all have something to contribute. When you join LETS, you trade your time, skills, goods and services with other members, and you earn “hearts” (the local currency), which you can then spend on more goods and services. You don’t need to have any hearts in your account to trade; there is no debt - we call it “commitment”; there is no interest. LETS is now worldwide and each district has a local currency

named by local people. The West Midlands’ currency is called “hearts”, Brighton’s is called “benefits” and Calderdale’s is called “favours”. All local currencies are exchangeable. LETS is useful for those who have little money; also it is possible to get services on LETS that you cannot get from the normal economy, or at least more affordably. The range includes plumbing, carpentry, general DIY, therapies, recycling and mending, hair-dying, music-reading lessons, personalised computer tuition and problem-solving. Some people offer lifts, reading aloud, parentsitting, waiting in for the gasman and befriending. Books, games and power tools are also lent out. All this means that people contact each other and this helps to create a local community. Local businesses can use a mixture of sterling money and LETS currency. LETS keeps stuff out of landfill. It promotes local activity rather than unnecessary transportation of goods, services and people. It will be an integral part of the future Green Society. If anyone out there needs to find out about LETS or would like to join, please phone 685 1155, or e-mail info@brumlets., or visit the website at Ankaret Harmer


Development Working together to achieve mutual aims. It is easy to think that there is a conflict between the goals of development, which are often thought of in economic, industrial terms, and protecting the environment. This apparent conflict is illusory: if development is concerned with alleviating poverty and inequality, protecting the environment is an urgent imperative. Looking after the environment is an indispensable step towards realising the goals of development. Development is fundamentally concerned with helping people improve their lives. This has often been conceived of in terms of industry, seeking to improve working standards and production rates in less economically developed countries. The efforts of poorer countries to find a place in the global economy have led to a promotion of environmentally

and the Environment:

damaging industries, whose costs could outweigh any benefits. Development, if conceived of in basic economic terms, seems to have totally different, irresolvable aims from those of protecting the environment. Economic interests tend to resist any restrictions aimed at environmental gains, as they will generally be costly and likely to reduce any profit margin. The strong resistance with which any measures attempting to combat climate change have been met by corporate business is testament to this. Environmental groups, correspondingly, have a tendency to treat the realm of industry with a large degree of suspicion. The two sides are rarely in accordance. Development institutions sometimes utilise quite a narrow definition of economics, when really the factors affecting poverty or wealth are complex and intricately linked to the environment. Big business in economically

Coca-Cola has been accused of dehydrating communities in its pursuit of water resources to feed its own plants. Picture from War on Want.


impoverished countries has great power over the citizens and workers, who are generally illtreated and not in a position to influence their personal lot, let alone the environmental impact of a giant corporation. Often businesses take advantage of a state’s poor economic circumstance, imposing poor working standards and poor environmental practices. Trade accords such as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade tend to depict environmental laws as illegal barriers to commerce. With this in mind, it seems that the enemies of development and the enemies of the environment are not as disparate as they might have appeared. The forces of the world that work against equitable wealth distribution and decent living standards are the same forces that work against a sustainable, healthy environment. Poor workers and the natural world are both viewed fundamentally as resources to be exploited for private gain. Structural inequities are equally damaging to the goals of development and of protecting the environment; they threaten the achievement of a global consensus on issues such as the environment and development and, without a global consensus, much progress is paralysed. The environment needs to be taken seriously as an issue for development for the simple fact that it has a serious impact on the quality of people’s lives. Sustainable development is defined by the World

Conservation Union as ‘improving the quality of human life while living within the carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems’. The second part of that definition is almost axiomatic; the quality of human life cannot be improved apart from within the carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems, at least in the long term. If development organisations seriously want to help those that cannot help themselves, they should start with the environmental issues that demand frightening urgency.

The world’s poorest people are already being, and will continue to be, hit hardest by climate change The world’s poorest people are already being, and will continue to be, hit hardest by climate change; by floods, droughts, and diseases. The effects will be so catastrophic that much of the good that has been done in the name of development will be reversed. If development agencies want to help those blighted by poverty and injustice, the biggest threat currently facing them is an


Development environmental one. Equity seems to be a prerequisite for sustainable development. The people of Sumatra and Borneo are cutting down their rainforests, releasing 13-40% as much carbon dioxide as the whole world’s fossil fuel consumption, not out of choice but necessity. They are cutting down trees because they are impoverished, because they have been exploited for commercial profit and because they have no other option. Until that inequality is addressed, the environmental impact will continue unabated. It is perhaps equally true that sustainable development is a prerequisite for equity. If the environment continues to be assaulted at the current rate, the


and the Environment: Continued from page 9...

inequality amongst members of the earth’s global community will worsen. The poor will get poorer, because extreme climatic impacts have a disproportionate effect on those that lack the wherewithal to ameliorate its effects. Development can no more afford to ignore the pressing issues of the environment than can the environment afford to ignore the pressing issues of development. Both perspectives are facing the same crises in the same world, and must work together for the common good of mankind. If development is not sustainable, then it is not development at all. Roxanne Green Birmingham Friends of the Earth Intern

Wasted food Alarm over the environment, soaring grocery prices and global food shortages and yet every year £10 billion pounds of food is being thrown away by Britons announced WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) This needless wasted food costs the average household throws out £420 of good food a year. For the average family with children it’s higher at £610. In the UK, we throw away one third of the food we buy, so that’s like one in three bagfuls of food shopping going straight into the bin. Researchers found that more than half of the food thrown out was still edible, is bought and simply left unused or untouched. The study believed to be the first of its kind in the world, that monitored the rubbish of 2138 people, revealed that £1 billion worth of wasted food is still “in date”. Eliminating the huge level of food waste would have significant environmental consequences. Local authorities £1 billion a year to dispose of food waste and this leads to the release of methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases. WRAP calculated that stopping the waste of good food could avoid 18 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents from being emitted each year – the same as taking 1 in 5 cars off of UK roads.

now costs UK homes £10 billion

of food. So as individuals, the basic tips to prevent food waste are: • Plan for the next week’s or fortnight’s meals and shop for these items and don’t get tempted by bulk buy offers. • Keep a close check on use-by dates and eat in order of date. • “Best before date” food can still be eaten after the date, it just means that they wont be at their best, although eggs are an exception and should not be eaten after the best before date. • Got a few vegetables left over? Dice them up add to boiling water with a bit of stock and you have soup. • Cook to your audience and don’t over cater. If you do over cater don’t just throw away leftovers, use it for lunch the next day or freeze it for another occasion. For further tips go to www., the WRAP Love Food Hate Waste campaign. Mary Horesh

With rising food prices and increased demand for farmland to grow biofuels, it’s ridiculous to keep wasting this level


Birmingham - a Cycle City? Continued from front page.... The selection process was rigorous and the bidding authority would need to satisfy a number of criteria including • commitment to the scheme at a senior political and officer level • demonstrate that it supports investment in high quality infrastructure which gives priority to cyclists • a willingness to restrain traffic speeds and volumes and to give advantage to cyclists • active involvement of local education and health authorities and voluntary groups

Birmingham City Council put in a strong bid but unfortunately it was not shortlisted

Birmingham City Council put in a strong bid but unfortunately it was not shortlisted which was a great disappointment to those in the council and various stakeholder groups who had worked hard on putting the bid


together. However all is not lost and the work can be used as a springboard for informing future cycling policy. A cycling strategy for Birmingham - a decade later Before the Cycle City bid was announced, Birmingham City Council was busy producing its draft cycling strategy which went out for public consultation earlier this year and to which Birmingham Friends of the Earth duly responded. Since the publication of the current cycling strategy in 1998, it is striking how the health dimension of cycling has gained more importance, with primary care trusts now directly involved in promoting cycle use. Promoting the health benefits of cycling will be a highly effective way of attracting a much wider range of people into the saddle and hopefully lead to increased levels of cycling across the city. On a less positive note, the 1998 target of increasing cycle use from 1% to 5% by 2005 was abandoned as cycling levels had actually declined to a paltry 0.7%. It was replaced by a much less demanding target of a 1% increase in the period 2003 to 2010. Contrast this disappointing story with that of London which has experienced an 83% increase in cycling levels since the late 90’s. The main focus of the new strategy is in bringing about behavioural change which will be achieved by a range of initiatives including cycle training and

promotion. The strategy will focus on the following areas of work. • Encourage more cycling to school • Improve cycling accident statistics through safety education and training • Work with Travelwise and ‘Be Birmingham’ Partnership to encourage more cycling more often. • Develop and implement a strategic cycle network across the city. Within each area a number of targets have been identified, although in many cases these are not quantified. Some of these are now considered. A target of no growth in car-based journeys to school is stated, but Birmingham Friends of the Earth considers this to be not ambitious enough; we think that the target should aim to reduce this number. The strategy sets out a target of reducing the number of cyclists killed or seriously/slightly injured by 2015 from the 1994-1998 average.

A city council survey identified that fear of dangerous traffic was the biggest deterrent to cycling.

Rather than reducing the number of cyclists killed or injured, surely a more meaningful measure would be to reduce the proportion of cyclists injured or killed. A city council survey identified that fear of dangerous traffic was the biggest deterrent to cycling. Thus the strategy gives strong support for the role of 20mph zones in making cycling safer and more attractive, but comments that it is beyond the scope of the strategy. On the contrary if cycling levels are to be increased, 20mph zones should be an integral part of the strategy. Murderously high speeds are commonplace both on trunk roads and residential side roads across the city. To tackle this problem we believe that a blanket 20mph limit should be applied to all residential roads. Portsmouth City Council has recently introduced such a scheme which has been welcomed by the vast majority of its residents; Aberdeen and Norwich are set to follow suit. Bikeability training is to be provided to at least 1800 pupils each year to improve cycling safety statistics. This is a welcome start, but we consider this initial target to be unnecessarily low, although this will be increased as funding and resources become available. Promoting the uptake of cycle training by adults is also given as a target, but not quantified. More often than not, injuries and fatalities result from collisions with other vehicles on the road, so educating cyclists only tackles half of


Cycle City? Birmingham aContinued from Page 11

the problem. We believe that drivers need to be made aware of how to safely share roads with cyclists. The establishment of a strategic cycle network is a key part of the cycling strategy. Emphasis will be on providing facilities on local roads and removing barriers to cycling on key routes such as at difficult junctions. At first glance, the map of the strategic cycling network appears to reflect a map of the main roads and raises concerns that cyclists will be chanelled along heavily trafficked arterial roads. However the proposed cycle corridors are only indicative, consisting of straight lines linking main destinations; the strategy points out that actual routes will in practice follow a combination of local roads, major roads and off road routes, whichever is appropriate.

It’s comprehensive, but is not ambitious enough

Some of the targets also need to be quantified. Considered cycling? Our friends in Push Bikes, the Birmingham cycle campaign group based in the Warehouse will be running a number of ‘Consider Cycling’ presentations. Aimed at adults who do not use their bikes much and those who are considering buying a bike, the following topics will be considered: • choice of bike, • adjustment and maintenance, • advice for cycling the roads more confidently • Cycle training and the Bikeability programme These free events will be held in the Meeting Room at the Warehouse on the following dates: • Wednesday June 18th 10am til noon, 2pm til 4pm, 7pm til 9pm • Thursday June 19th 10 til noon, 7pm til 9pm. • Saturday June 21st 10am til noon, 2pm til 4pm.

While emphasis will be on developing the strategic network, existing schemes such as the North Birmingham Cycle Route and Harborne Walkway will continue to be funded and completed. Our verdict on the strategy? It’s comprehensive, but is not ambitious enough and is weak in many areas.


for further details and to book your place, email Graham Hankins of Pushbikes or phone 0121 707 0420.

Martin Stride


From Shipping – Too Often Unnoticed

Carbon dioxide emissions from shipping are currently double those of aviation and they are increasing almost as alarmingly. Without urgent action to limit and reduce these emissions, shipping will have a serious impact on global warming, according to research by the industry and European academics.

annual emissions from shipping range between 600 million and 800 million tonnes of CO2 Separate studies suggest that maritime carbon dioxide emissions are not only higher than previously thought, but could rise by as much as 75% in the next 15 to 20 years if world trade continues to grow and no action is taken. The latest statistical data reveals that annual emissions from shipping range between 600 million and 800 million tonnes of CO2, or up to 5% of the global total. This is nearly double Britain’s total emissions and more than all African countries combined. Carbon dioxide emissions from ships do not come under the Kyoto agreement or any proposed European legislation and few studies have been made of them. In

contrast, aviation emissions have rightly been at the forefront of the climate change debate because of the sharp increase in cheap flights and the fact that so many flights are a luxury that only the richest 5% of the world can take advantage of. Shipping emissions have risen nearly as fast in the past 20 years but have been ignored by governments and environmental groups alike. Shipping is still responsible for transporting 90% of world trade, which has doubled in 25 years. Furthermore, shipping is also responsible for massive marine pollution largely from oil tankers, as well as very high levels of soot and sulphur emissions. Dr Rajendra Patel, chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), stated: ‘The shipping industry has so far escaped publicity. It has been left out of climate change discussions. I hope it will be included in the next UN agreement.’ The whole issue of shipping emissions is a stark reminder of the need to stick to the mantra ‘think global, act local’ in all our decision making, especially when purchasing food and manufactured products. This is even more important when we add in the CO2 associated with the production of our imports; with, for example, some 25% of China’s CO2 being produced during the manufacture of products exported to the West. Nigel Baker


Bus Lane Enforcement Get a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live. ~ Mark Twain The main objection I hear to cycling in Birmingham is “it’s dangerous”, to which I usually respond by talking about my (almost) daily commute along the number 5 cycle route. In Summer it takes me through Cannon Hill park, which is not only pleasurable, but also gets me home quicker than if I took the bus or the car. The experience is usually great, allowing me to get my daily dose of exercise, which I am told makes my heart 10 years younger and defies Mark Twain’s quote by making me live longer. This was until an experience I had on Horton Sq, the junction that crosses the Queensway from Highgate to Balsall Heath, where a white van illegally pulled into the bus lane and almost ran me over. All this whilst the driver shouted out the window at me as if I was in the wrong.

The bus lane is the only way over this crossing, which allows me to get straight on to the cycle path on the other side. Cars and white vans aren’t allowed to go over at any time, but these rules are frequently flouted. It has led me, over the last two months, to look into bus lane enforcement and also to consider the amount of times I have been stuck on a bus in a bus lane filled with car traffic. There are 50 km of bus lanes in the Midlands and only 650 tickets were given out in 2007, so for every 100m stretch there is just over 1 fine per year. No wonder they are so clogged up with cars, lorries and white vans. So what is the solution? I believe that bus lane enforcement cameras that give out automatic fines in areas where there are major infringements would provide the best deterrent. Bus journeys shouldn’t take so long and cycle journeys don’t need to be dangerous. I want Mark Twain to be wrong. Phil Burrows

There are 50 km of bus lanes in the Midlands and only 650 tickets were given out in 2007


If you would like to get involved in campaigning on transport issues, then come to our next transport sub-group meeting on Monday 16th, 7:00 at the Warehouse.

New Street

Station: Gateway to a Sustainable Future?

As you’ve all probably heard, New Street Station ‘Gateway’ project recently received long awaited funding from central government, paving the way for a much needed revamp of the station. Whilst this is good news for rail travel in Birmingham and the West Midlands, meaning more sustainable travel, we here at Birmingham Friends of the Earth thought that the new New Street Station should also be a beacon of sustainablity too. That’s why as part of our ongoing planning campaign work we responded to the planning application for the redesign. If you’ve not managed to seek a peek at the plans for New Street Station, then we can tell you it’s pretty ambitious, with a massive expansion of the station concourse to provide much needed extra passenger capacity, a new glazed atrium which requires the cutting of a void through the Pallasades shopping centre above, a complete refurbishment of the shopping centre, and the building of two new high rise tower blocks, as well some associated works to help integrate the station better into the surrounding area. All told it’s going to cost around £500 million. Anyway, last year the application was approved, and as part of the conditions (these are items that must be included within the finished building) for the approval, we were pleased to see some of

our sustainability incorporated.


Firstly, Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (that’s SUDS for short), which help manage storm and surface water that runs off surfaces, preventing flooding and the overloading of sewers. With climate change set to cause more freak heavy storms this is good news for the local and wider area. Systems for harvesting rainwater and grey water from the buildings will need to be included, which will be filtered and reused within the development for non drinking water purposes, such as toilet flushing. This will help save drinking water and the energy associated with purifying it, as well as helping to reduce flooding, as this is a form of SUDS (see previous). Green roofs provision was included, which provide a multitude of environmental benefits, such as; soaking up storm water (yes, you guessed it, another form of SUDS), soaking up air pollution (in particular sooty particulates) which makes for cleaner air in the city, absorbing carbon dioxide though the plants that make up the roof, and providing a valuable city centre wildlife habitat, in particular for birds. Energy use should also be reduced by a requirement to build the office and residential accommodation to higher levels of energy efficiency than standard, with the apartments needing to achieve EcoHomes ‘Good’


New Street

Station: Gateway to a Sustainable Future? Continued from Page 17

rating and the offices BREEAM ‘Good’ rating (EcoHomes & BREEAM are central government rating schemes for sustainable buildings). However, we were a little disappointed that these targets weren’t more ambitious by striving for a ‘Very Good’ or ‘Excellent’ rating, but there’s still time for the developers to aim for higher even if the council won’t.

New building but will the trains be any better? Cartoon courtesy of

It’s also good news that recycling provision for both the residential and commercial developments is to be included, facilities that Birmingham Friends of the Earth has been campaigning for for many years. Cycling also featured in the conditions, with a commitment to cycle storage provision for rail passengers and employees, as well as a good provision for the apartment and office blocks, the latter is also to feature showers and changing facilities for cyclists, which we’re sure will be welcomed. In addition, a ‘Travelwise’ plan is also required for the finished development which should help get employees in


the buildings walking, cycling and using public transport to get them to work. Before the building is complete however, a ‘construction travel plan’ is also required, which should also help minimise congestion and pollution from construction traffic during the works. And finally, a combined heat and power (CHP) plant is also set to make an appearance. A CHP is a kind of mini power station generating electricity for the buildings on site, the waste heat from this process is then utilised to heat both the buildings themselves and provide hot water. Because of this dual role CHPs are over twice as efficient as your average conventional power station and therefore reduce carbon dioxide emissions considerably. If large enough this CHP could also potentially provide heat to a district heating system, which would heat surrounding buildings also, much like the recently installed Broad Street CHP. So, whilst we would have liked to see higher energy efficiency standards, a commitment to the use of local labour and materials, and a proportion of space available for independent shops and businesses, the outcome of the planning response has been pretty good. So, with funding now in place and work to begin in the near future, lets hope the new New Street Station is both a gateway to the city and a gateway to a sustainable future. Ben Martin

Volunteer Spotlight Chris Williams interviewed Joe Peacock

topic to explain the negative reasons why supermarkets are a problem, but promoting the positives of local shops is preferable. I am also quite involved in the campaign to oppose the Birmingham Airport runway extension. It’s even more important to raise awareness of the effects of aviation when international aviation emissions have been missed out of the climate change bill. How did you first get involved?

How long have you been involved with Birmingham Friends of the Earth? Since Autumn last year. What do you do Birmingham group?



Campaigning on a range of issues but I try not to spread myself too thinly. My first action was on a stall for the local shops campaign and I have stuck with it since then. I like the way the campaign promotes local shopping habits and points out that they are a valued part of a local community and tend to be taken for granted, only missed when they are no longer there. It is quite a dry Does a picture say 1000 words for you? Newsletter Image Editor wanted At Birmingham Friends of the Earth, we know we’re good with words but we would like

My parents were very active in CND when I was young so I was one of those kids you saw on marches, which gave me a good feeling about being part of a community. I went on marches as a student but went abroad after that and got out of the habit. I am now back in touch with my roots. Do you like working within the group? I love meeting like-minded people with the same ideas. I particularly like the fact that we have debate and that there are different shades of environmental arguments. Personally, I am becoming a darker shade of green and have made some changes to my own lifestyle as a result of listening to others. to improve the images in our newsletter. Do you have a couple of hours every two months to spare? Will you be our newsletter image editor? Get in touch with Chris Williams (0121 632 6909) if you think you could fit the bill.


Prius Driver: Two years ago my Citroen Saxo was written off in an accident and I had just come into a handy inheritance. As a committed eco-campaigner and someone whose full-time job does (genuinely) require the use of a vehicle, the brand new eco-car on the block - the Toyota Prius - seemed a good option. I would never normally spend anything like £18,000 on a car, but I could afford it and, if it did what it said on the label, it was just about the best eco-option out there. The Prius is certainly a sleek machine with all the mod-cons: a sat-nav; air-con, which I religiously never use; and, most useful by far, a fuel consumption gauge that tells me literally second by second how I’m doing. It has a hybrid petrol/battery powered engine controlled by an ingenious computerised system seamlessly switching between petrol and battery and more often than not a combination of the two. The battery charges itself up constantly through the braking system.

Nigel Baker next to his Toyota Prius


Eco Criminal or Eco Hero.

The manufacturer’s claim is that the Prius can average 65 mpg (miles per gallon) and that its emissions are 104g CO2 per kilometre. I drive for 90% of the time in Birmingham, usually quite short journeys of 8-10 miles and invariably in fairly heavy traffic. My average is around 52mpg which isn’t at all bad but short of what I’d hoped. On long journeys the mileage is better but rarely above 60mpg. I believe that, generally speaking, I drive in a very eco-way; laying off the accelerator whenever possible, braking gently, keeping to the speed limit on motorways etc. In truth, a similar performance could probably be achieved by driving a small energy- efficient diesel car (in an eco-friendly way), at least in terms of mpg. Interestingly, there are cars in all categories, including SUVs (Sports Utility Vehicles), with emission figures below 150g CO2 per kilometre. Such a car would probably be £8000 £10,000 cheaper, allowing saved funds to go, theoretically at least, to other carbon-cutting measures. The verdict: I think not an ecocriminal, maybe a victim of hype, but if you genuinely need to use a car there are few better choices. However, I am seriously considering the small diesel option and recycling the difference in more domestic fuel saving measures. I also can’t deny that every time I see an SUV with tinted windows and personalised number plates that I despair for the future of the planet - eco-criminals every last one in my book! Nigel Baker



31st May – 8th June, Climate Change Festival, Birmingham (mainly City Centre)

JULY End of July, Warehouse Building Planning Away Day

5th June, World Environment Day 14th June, Bike Week begins 17th June, Campaigns Strategy Meeting, 6.15pm, the Warehouse 28th June, Shakespeare Rail Line Open Day, 9am-5pm, Moor Street Station (Birmingham FoE aim to be present) 30th June, Tony Juniper (FoE Executive Director) Speaker Event, 7.30-9pm, Birmingham and Midland Institute, Margaret Street

Farmers’ Market Bearwood: 3rd Saturday of the month Birmingham University: 4th Wednesday of the month. Harborne: 2nd Saturday of the month 9-2pm King’s Heath: 1st Saturday of the month King’s Norton: 2nd Saturday of the month Moseley: 4th Saturday of the month New St: 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month Shirley: 3rd Thursday of the month except Jan and Feb Solihull: 1st Friday of the month Sutton Coldfield: 2nd Friday of the month Visit this site for more info: html#westmidlands


Become a Supporter... We are the only organisation in Birmingham that campaigns on Climate Change, Transport, Local Shops, Planning, Waste and Recycling. You can help us do this in a number of ways; 1.) By taking part in or our campaigns 2.) By joining us 3.) Both Whichever route you decide, you are helping to change your environment for the better. Making sure that that those who pollute, monopolise or despoil locally, nationally or internationally are accountable. There are two ways to join us...

Either I wish to become a Golden Supporter with payments by standing order of £2 per month or more.

Or I wish to become an Annual Supporter, paying by standing order / cheque (Please delete as appropriate. Note that standing orders are cheaper for us to process). Annual supporter fees are a minimum of: • £16 (waged) • £10 (unwaged) • £20 (joint/family)


return with standing order or cheque to: Secretary, Friends of the Earth, 54-57 Allison Street, Digbeth, Birmingham B5 5TH.

Contact Details Full name: .......................................... Address: ............................................ ......................................................... Town:................... Postcode: ............... Telephone: ......................................... E-mail: .............................................. Standing Order Form Sort Code (if known): ......................... Your name/ Account name: ................. Your account number: ........................ Bank Name/Address: ......................... ....................................................... Please pay the sum of £ every month/ year (delete as appropriate) starting on ____/____/_________ To: Friends of the Earth Birmingham Ltd., Account no: 50 72 58 30 Sort Code: 08-60-01 Unity Trust Bank, 9 Brindley Place, 4 Oozells square, Birmingham B1 2HE This replaces any previous standing order in favour of Friends of the Earth Birmingham. Signature: ...................... Date: .........

Contact us: Friends of the Earth (Birmingham) The Warehouse 54-57 Allison Street Birmingham B5 5TH Tel: (0121) 632 6909 Fax: (0121) 643 3122 E-mail:

Chair: Benjamin Mabbett Campaigns Co-ordinator: Mary Horesh & Joe Peacock Campaigns Support Worker: Chris Williams General Manager: Phil Burrows Treasurer:


Margaret Lynch

Friends of the Earth is:


- The largest international network of environmental groups in the world, represented in 72 countries.

James Botham Climate Change & Energy: Nigel Baker Multi-faith and Climate Change Project:

- One of the UK’s leading enviromental pressure groups.

Rianne ten Veen & Maud Grainger

- A unique network of campaigning local groups, working in more than 200 communities in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Kate Nancarrow & Andy Pryke

- Over 90% of its funds come from its supporters.

John Hall

Birmingham FoE: Campaigns at a local level to effect environmental change (in ways which feed into national and international policy) through: - Direct action - Lobbying - Education

Waste and Resources: Local Food and Trade: Karen Leach Planning: Transport: Vacancy Newsletter Editors: Katy Barry Phil Burrows Website Editor: Phil Burrows Talks: Paul Webb and others All enquiries and callers welcome.

- Empowering others to take action

Find us on page 74 of the B’ham

- Participation and representation through public fora

A-Z, grid ref: 4A


Printed on 100% Recycled Paper Using Vegetable Based Inks

Birmingham Friends of the Earth

Birmingham Friends of The Earth newsletter - Jun-Jul 2008  
Birmingham Friends of The Earth newsletter - Jun-Jul 2008  

Birmingham Friends of The Earth newsletter for June-July 2008