This information-packed event was attended by people from many parts of the country; a Tewkesbury member remembered the Birmingham canals from the time when, as a young man, he worked on barges carrying dates and tomato puree to the HP Sauce factory.

cboa 2 header

The  Commercial Boat Operators Association (CBOA) is a trade organisation which aims to sustain and increase freight carriage on our waterways. Advantages are economies of scale and fuel efficiency, decongested roads, fewer fatalities and injuries and higher energy efficiency, producing less air pollution with lower emissions.

Large loads are taken off the roads: from aggregates down the Severn, grain down the Mersey, coal down the Calder and sludge and biomass along the Leeds and Liverpool canal.

CRT news reports that last June a 270 tonne electricity transformer (weighing as much as 18 doubledecker buses) was delivered to Hull and transported on the River Trent to Staythorpe Power Station. It was loaded onto the Inland Navigator, a specially converted river barge owned and operated by Robert Wynn & Sons, which can carry single piece loads of up to 300 tonnes on the inland waterway network to cities such as Leeds, Nottingham, York and Worcester. If the transformer had not been carried on the river, it would have faced an 85 mile journey by road.

270 tonne section transformerThis photograph shows a 270 tonne section of a transformer taken by road from the River Ribble at Penwortham Bridge to a substation only a mile away.

 

Humber Barges report that the Freight Transport Association, Canal & River Trust (which now has a water borne freight policy) and CBOA held a conference in Wakefield in November. A Freight Advisory Group set up has recommended that three of the Trust’s north eastern waterways, the Aire & Calder Navigation, the South Yorkshire Navigation and the River Ouse, be designated as Priority Freight Routes.  A steering group has been asked to work with the port industry, shippers, barge operators and planners and take forward the concept of an inland terminal or port in Leeds for handling marine aggregate, waste, general cargoes, and possibly containers. A steering group has been set up to take the project forward.

Leeds City Council proposes to safeguard certain canal wharves on the Aire and Calder navigation for freight use and to earmark waterside land for industrial use. CRT supports Leeds City Council in its efforts to get these wharves protected from unsuitable development, following London’s example.

exol humber princess

Exol Lubricants makes effective use of the waterways and canal networks, regularly transporting 500 tonnes of raw material – equal to more than 20 road tanker deliveries – from Hull docks to its bulk blending plant in Rotherham. It appeared on ITV’s programme Barging Round Britain with John Sergeant who joined the Exol team on the Humber Princess (above, approximately 200 feet long), led by Skipper Duane Ball, and travelled along the river Humber before disembarking at Goole.

urban transport2 header

Centro (West Midlands) is a member of the Urban Transport Group which brings together and promotes the interests of Britain’s largest urban areas on transport. Other full members are Merseytravel (Merseyside), North East Combined Authority, South Yorkshire PTE (Sheffield City Region), Transport for Greater Manchester, Transport for London, West Yorkshire Combined Authority.  Associate members are Bristol and the West of England Partnership, Nottingham City Council and Strathclyde Partnership for Transport.

The Passenger Transport Executive Group’s latest report highlights the essential role of urban freight in ensuring the effective functioning of the UK economy and presents a fresh vision designed to safeguard this role, as well as protect the environment and quality of life for communities. It can be downloaded here.

The emphasis is on freight making its way to urban areas by rail or water, either directly into those areas, or into the major distribution parks that serve them. The report argues that those distribution sites should be located so that it is practical for goods to travel the last mile(s) into urban centres using zero/low emission modes.

Further news from CBOA and CRT, including a proposal for a new canal across the Pennines, floating depots and Belgium’s Blue Line Logistics’ move to using hydrogen fuel, will be posted next week on an environment and innovation site.

Membership of the CBOA is open to companies, organisations and individuals who support its aims. Contact the secretary Keith Astley k.astley@cboa.org.uk

 

milan food policy pact gatheringBirmingham is one of the C40 group of world cities which has agreed that unless the food system changes, there’s little hope of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. London’s footprint audit estimated that the food supply chain is the primary source and in March the Greater London Authority published a report on ten years’ of work done by the London Food Board and its partners to foster much needed change.

Last October, Distinctly Birmingham reported that Birmingham had become the 46th of 100 signatories of the Urban Food Policy Pact from all continents in Milan’s Palazzo Reale. The Pact was then presented to Ban-Ki Moon, UN Secretary General, in New York on World Food Day, October 16th.

The Birmingham delegation, which included the Director for Public Health for Birmingham City Council, Adrian Philips and the co-founder of the Harborne Food School, Shaleen Meelu, took part in several workshops and conferences aimed at addressing issues of sustainable food policy in urban environments.

milan 2 food policy pact gathering

Tim Lang, Professor of Food Policy, City University London, writes that the new Pact seeks a greener, healthier, more equitable food system:

“This needs a strong political voice that engages with and listens to consumers, but is firm about the need for change. The social maldistribution of food on a gargantuan scale that we have today is unacceptable. We need food systems based on full cost pricing, not cheap food and overflowing hospitals and denuded nature”.

Cheap food leads to overflowing hospitals and denuded nature

He reported that many cities have been auditing how they are fed. They now recognise their food systems are in a delicate state, symptoms include:

  • high health and environmental impacts,
  • aspirations for cheap food, ‘hard-wired’ into consumer expectations,
  • rampant waste,
  • too many government concessions to giant food companies selling sugary, salty, fatty, ultra-processed food (we add: giant food companies = prospective party funders),
  • marketing budgets far higher than those allocated to food education and
  • no-one apparently in overall control.

Lang continues: “A new urban politics is emerging, gradually recognising the need to move beyond the neoliberal era’s commitment to cheap and plentiful food which has only spawned an horrendous new set of challenges which it cannot resolve. Many of these drop onto localities’ doorsteps.  Waste. The new food poor. Rising obesity. Street litter. Inequalities. Low waged food work. But the positive news about a sustainable future needs to be grasped. Closer foodways, better jobs, healthier populations”.

Commitments have been made:

  • to develop methods for auditing their food systems,
  • to prepare local sustainable dietary guidelines
  • and to share experimental findings.

Lang asks: Is it progress for cities to fill streets with endless food offers?

Can we let fast food joints surround schools like hyenas?

What powers are needed to recalibrate urban food culture for 2030?

Must we consign workforces to ill-health?

If national governments are content to leave it to Tesco et al to shovel out cheap food, shouldn’t cities step up to the challenge?

Lang: “It’s there that the consuming mass exists. It’s there the food labour is now greatest in rich countries. It’s there that developing mega cities have massive problems – water, sanitation, food, waste, inequalities”. He points out that Britain, as first industrial nation, knows only too well the consequences of severing people from the land: “We need another package. But which is it to be?”

Many readers will opt for this one: ‘more money getting from dependent urban consumers’ purses back to the primary producers’.

Professor Lang ends:

“The schisms between big companies and millions of small enterprises is a key City challenge. The latter create jobs and diversity. And how can cities help repair ecosystems on which humanity and food depend?

“The new pact seeks a greener, healthier, more equitable food system.  This needs a strong political voice that engages with and listens to consumers, but is firm about the need for change. The social maldistribution of food on a gargantuan scale that we have today is unacceptable. We need food systems based on full cost pricing, not cheap food and overflowing hospitals and denuded nature.

“All hail to Milan and the 100 Cities”.

 

Asda/Parkgate, according to today’s email message from a local entrepreneur born and bred in Shirley. We add: Asda/Shirley Advance/Parkgate, with the backing of the political party controlling Solihull Council.

Powergen

Our correspondent writes, “I went to the bank in Shirley yesterday and as predicted on your website, Parkgate has killed Shirley. Many of the shops are now empty and even the charity shops are closing. I think I’d rather have vaguely competent European bureaucrats than inept and or self-serving local politicians”.

It has been a long, slow process, death by a thousand cuts

The first blow: CEGB/Powergen (above) relocated after being refused permission to expand; hundreds of its employees then no longer had lunch and did their shopping in Shirley. The building was allowed to decay and much of the site will be used to further Asda/Shirley Advance property development.

shirley park logoThen came a twenty year struggle against the wishes of over 90% of Shirley residents (who responded to a poll overseen by the Electoral Reform Society). The council finally made the development financially viable by a gift of public parkland on which to build aspirational housing – not for those really in need on the borough’s housing register.

Our correspondent sent the graphic (above) republished in the West Midlands aggregator website and the text of the original 2014 Green Party article.

Measures which could help Shirley

shirley woolworths logo

  • Set up a decent indoor market in the former Woolworth’s building which would attract many stall-holders and customers from surrounding areas who might spend in the few remaining High St businesses.
  • In May, people in all Solihull’s threatened locations should vote to increase the main opposition Green Party and give them control of Solihull Council.
  • Then nationwide vote in a government which would control the exorbitant rents landlords charge. In Shirley it is not unusual for landlords to ask for £30,000 in rent per annum for small shops and overhead flats.

Should the well-being of thousands suffer to maintain the profits of a few absentee landlords and property developers?

 

academies graphichttps://twitter.com/jeremycorbyn

After the May election, Birmingham councillors intend to embark on an organised campaign with the unions, media and the Local Government Association (LGA) to mobilise opposition against the White Paper’s key policy: total academisation. The decision follows a debate at the March Council meeting in which both Labour and Lib Dem councillors spoke in favour of a motion brought by Cllr Brigid Jones to oppose elements of the White Paper, including forcing schools to become academies and the removal of parents from governing bodies. Watch the debate here.

jc educ

News reported at the end of March revealed local academy malpractice – complex and secretive financial dealings.

The Education Funding Agency, which oversees education spending for the Government, launched an investigation after it received claims from a whistleblower that what it calls “an additional second salary” was paid to Mr Nolan. It was established that the Perry Beeches academy Trust paid nearly £1.3 million to a business which then paid a “second salary” to Liam Nolan, Headmaster of Perry Beeches school. The payments which were made to the Accounting Officer, through Nexus and then Liam Nolan Ltd, for CEO services were not disclosed in the 2013/14 financial statements.

jc 2 nutJeremy Corbyn received a standing ovation at the NUT conference

The NUT treasurer Ian Murch said schools should be seen as a “public service and not a business opportunity”.

Birmingham CASE has published the Labour councillors’ national statement. An extract:

“It’s astonishing that, at a time of major cuts to school budgets, the Government would propose spending hundreds of millions turning all schools into academies when there is not a shred of evidence that it will help improve education standards.

“Over 80% of maintained schools have been rated good or excellent by Ofsted, while three times as many councils perform above the national average in terms of progress made by students than the largest academy chains. When a school is struggling, we must take action – but converting every school to an academy, without giving parents a say, is not the answer.

On the website of the Campaign for State Education (CASE), member Chris Dunne, retired headteacher offers a persuasive closing argument:

Almost no one seems to be aware that of the 50 most developed countries in the world only one other European country (Finland) and four in Southeast Asia outperform this country in overall educational attainment, and none of them have privatised their schools in the way this legislation will promote. On the contrary, they are all fiercely protective of a national system of education.

 

So said one of Birmingham’s most active, well-informed and caring citizens last night.  For the environment and so much more . . .

barrow cadbury blog2 logoHe is referred to the Barrow Cadbury Trust’s Economic Justice Programme which is “keen to build learning to strengthen local economies and to share best practice between a range of sectors, but particularly across local authorities”.

barrow cadbury blog graphic3 KL

The economic and social references above do not even refer to the undeniable environmental benefits of vastly reduced transport of goods and to people in this area beset by premature deaths attributed to illegal levels of air pollution. To read the whole article go to the Barrow Cadbury Trust blog.

Localisation is a ‘solutions multiplier’ with political implications, reducing CO2 emissions, energy use and all kinds of waste, creating meaningful and secure employment and rebuilding the connections between people – and between people and their local environment by:

  • local trading, using local businesses, materials and supply chains,
  • linking local needs to local resources,
  • developing community and local capacity,
  • providing services tailored to meet local needs
  • and decentralising appropriate democratic and economic power

A few of the localising initiatives outlined:

Finance – where 7600 credit unions are outperforming the big banks. Business – where 30,000 small businesses in 130 American cities have formed alliances, some becoming part of larger networks, such as the Business Alliance for Local Living Alliances (BALLE). And food – where, in the ‘supermarket economy’, the farmer gets 10% of what we pay, or less, but gets 50% in the local food co-op and 100% in the farmers’ market.

In the vitally important but vastly neglected agriculture sector, studies have shown that ten times more food per acre is produced on small diversified farms and, by shortening the distance to the buyer, waste of food, refrigeration, preservatives, packaging, energy, irradiation and advertising is reduced or eliminated, the farmer earns more and the customer pays less.

the resilience imperative coverA co-founder of Localise West Midlands, Pat Conaty, makes the case for replacing the paradigm of limitless economic growth with a more decentralized, cooperative, steady-state economy in The Resilience Economy, which promotes:

  • Energy sufficiency
  • Local food systems
  • Low-cost financing
  • Affordable housing and land reform
  • Democratic ownership and sustainability

Karen Leach, co-ordinator of Localise West Midlands writes:

“This extreme vulnerability of the global economy to trade developments illustrates clearly the perils of an entirely globalised system that removes local economies’ resilience in meeting their own needs.”

As governments cut funding for basic needs while spending billions on global infrastructure for transport trade and weapons, caring and intelligent people worldwide are finding alternatives which promote economic prosperity, social harmony and environmental sustainability.

 

It is good to read – via a Brummie link to an article on a Social Housing and Local Government news website that co-ordinated by Birmingham City Council, a taskforce of over 260 are to maintain more than 31,000 properties in Birmingham. 

wates bournville vans

In the Bournville conservation area residents are used to seeing the award-winning Trust’s housing maintenance vans, with an established workforce – Bournville Property Care Services – who take a real pride in their work. It would be good to see such a service in all the city’s neighbourhoods.

Family-owned Wates Living Space Maintenance was appointed in December to undertake repairs and maintenance services for Birmingham council tenants over the next four years alongside Keepmoat and Willmott Dixon. From April onwards they will have repairs, maintenance, gas servicing and home improvements provided by only one contractor, leading to an improved service and savings which will be ploughed back in to housing services.

wates vans

A specialist fleet of 193 vans has been commissioned, in all, carrying over 11,000 trade tools, to carry out over 90,000 repairs each year.

The aim is to bring back to full use approximately 2,300 vacant properties across the city. Wates Living Space Maintenance has also pledged to give a host of training and employment opportunities for local people and to utilise a local supply chain for the repairs and maintenance service, bringing an economic boost to Birmingham SMEs.

Further details are given on Wates’ website: http://www.wates.co.uk/news/190-vans-take-birmingham-s-streets-upgrade-homes-2322

 

jdc2 header

DEVELOPING COUNTRIES EDM 68

Early Day Motion 58 put forward by Roger Godsiff, MP for Birmingham Sparkbrook and Small Heath, states:

That this House supports taking action to prevent debt crises taking place in developing countries, as these delay development and can cause great suffering; welcomes the $130 billion of developing country debt which was cancelled through the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative; notes that lending to low-income countries has trebled since 2008, and that the IMF and World Bank state that 45 low-income countries are at moderate or high risk of not being able to pay their debts; further notes that multilateral institutions are responsible for 60% of loans to low income countries; in this context, urges the government to keep giving bilateral aid as grants rather than loans; further urges the Government to require the multilateral institutions that it funds to take further measures to ensure loans do not lead to unpayable debts; calls on the Government to support a UN Intergovernmental Tax Body to give developing countries a say in creating fairer global tax rules, and to support and implement the UN principles on responsible borrowing and lending; and further calls on the Government actively to support and participate in the UN negotiations to create new international bankruptcy rules for states which will indicate to the private sector that it will no longer be bailed out at taxpayer expense for reckless lending.

Other Birmingham MPs have yet to put their names to it. Some readers may decide to ask their MPs to sign it before the end of the session in May.

“FOOTSTEPS: FAITHS FOR A LOW CARBON FUTURE”

Sunday May 8 2-5pm

This is the first venture of the newly formed Birmingham “Footsteps: Faiths for a Low Carbon Future”, with speakers from the Muslim, Sikh and Christian Faiths. Venue to be announced. See what we can do to follow up Paris together. Other events to follow.


Contact John Nightingale, JDC Chairman and current producer of the newsletter via http://birmingham.jubileedebt.org.uk/

 

 

Years ago Noel Martin from Edgbaston in Birmingham was attacked by racists whilst working in Germany as a plasterer and was left with severe spinal injuries. He wanted to travel to Dignitas in Switzerland where he would be helped to end his life.

Mr Martin has spoken on the West Midlands Politics Show. Some misunderstanding of the proposal in Lord Joffe’s bill to legalise assisted dying emerged; in assisted dying the action is taken by the patient; the doctor providing a reliable means to end life at the patient’s request. This is not euthanasia, which means the ending of a person’s life by another’s act.

Mr Martin is now too unwell to travel to Switzerland. Will the new bill which would help him and others be passed?

The West Midlands Politics Show poll showed over 70 % in favour of legalising assisted dying.

dignitas panorama poll

Though national polls (above) continue to show that most people are overwhelmingly in favour a majority of British politicians and some religious and financial interests are not respecting public opinion.

On a sister site last year a Pretoria judge’s approval of the right to die with dignity was recorded. Breaching the evangelical Christian consensus, former archbishop, Lord Carey, and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu have declared themselves to be in favour of assisted dying for the terminally ill and those in a situation of intractable, unbearable suffering.

Journalist Katharine Whitehorn visited Oregon in 2008, one of the places in which assisted dying is legal – some American states, Switzerland, Denmark, Columbia, Holland and Belgium. She points out that far from the sad, the poor and the unwanted being ‘shuffled off into the hereafter’, it is mostly the strong-minded and competent who choose assisted dying, for more than one reason:

  • intractable pain,
  • increasing disability,
  • collapse of normal bodily functions, or
  • loss of dignity as others clean and feed them.

cambridge assisted dying video

Some readers might want to see the video of the Cambridge Union Society’s debate in January 2014. The proposition was ‘This House Would Legalise ‘Assisted Dying’. The speakers in favour of freedom of choice in “last matters” won the debate by a clear 207 to 67 votes (with 54 abstaining). When will UK politicians listen?

assisted dying trudeau

It was good to read that one of several good policies presented by the new Canadian premier, Justin Trudeau, is support for assisted dying. He said:

“The high court struck down the prohibition on doctor-assisted dying last February and gave the federal government a year to come up with a new law recognizing the right of clearly consenting adults who are enduring intolerable physical or mental suffering to seek medical help in ending their lives”.

Quebec already has its own law, which came into effect on December 10th. Since then, one patient in Quebec City’s university health-care network has received a doctor-assisted death.

dignitas logoDuring the last 14 years, over 300 Britons have travelled to Dignitas in Switzerland for a professional, medically supported and accompanied suicide.

These people would rather have had the choice of a self-determined end of suffering and life at home.

The law in the UK needs to change. Dignitas supports the campaign and new court case to change the law in England & Wales.

Though public opinion is overwhelmingly in favour, as past votes in the Lords and the Commons have shown, a majority of politicians and some religious and financial interests are not respecting public opinion.

Further court cases are needed to bring about change.

Solicitor and Partner Saimo Chahal, of London Law firm Bindmans, alerts readers to the fact that there is a legal campaign to change the law in England & Wales, started by Elaine Spector and two further individuals, who wish to remain anonymous – V and J. She previously acted for Debbie Purdy, Tony and Jane Nicklinson and Paul Lamb.

Many will echo the wish of the Dignitas team: “May we all live to see freedom of choice and human dignity, in life and at life’s end, in England & Wales and around the world”.


If you are interested in joining the legal campaign please email Saimo Chahal on s.chahal@bindmans.com.

nuclear 2convoys near Loch Lomond

Day and night, military convoys carrying nuclear warheads travel regularly up and down the country by road – between the nuclear warhead factory at Burghfield, near Aldermaston in Berkshire and the Trident nuclear base at Coulport in Scotland. M6, M40, and M42, some of the most congested motorways in the country, are frequently used.

The West Midlands CND website adds that lorries which carry nuclear materials including those from decommissioned warheads, for new warheads and for nuclear reactors for submarines, can use the same West Midlands motorways as the warhead convoys, but travel faster (up to 60mph) and do not travel at night. They also travel to the Rolls Royce factory Derby, sometimes using the M42, M6 and A38, or sometimes the M1.

nuclear symbolWMCND believes that the public should be told of these dangers. No radiation warning symbols (left) are now carried and though the public nor local authorities emergency planners are not warned, at least the police are always told when a nuclear convoy is expected.

Rob Edwards wrote an article in 2012 about a report from the UK government’s Health Protection Agency (HPA), commissioned by the government’s Office for Nuclear Regulation. It recorded 38 incidents in 2011 and 30 in 2010 – the second highest toll in six years, which saw a total of 195 mishaps. Read more on this Nuclear Industries blog.

The locations of the incidents were not disclosed in the report and no evidence of more recent monitoring of the transport of nuclear has been found in the public domain.

nuclear mareials lorry labelledMP Paul Flynn recently highlighted heightening of risk, due to the influence of Defence Equipment and Support Organisation (a ‘trading entity’ and organisation in the MoD) over government decision makers who decided that MoD vehicles transporting special nuclear materials should no longer carry hazard warning signs (right) when transporting radioactive cargoes.

There is a possible health hazard and also a risk to security as there is a ready market for such goods, with the potential addition of George Osborne’s proposed small nuclear reactors which can be carried on a lorry.

Elizabeth Way [former secretary of Just Defence] and Hazel Neal, on behalf of the West Midlands Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, wrote to the Lord Mayor of Birmingham in June 2012:

Birmingham’s population is endangered by the transport of nuclear fuel rods through the residential heart of the city by train, and the transport of nuclear warheads on major roads and motorways around Birmingham. Birmingham is a Nuclear-Free City. Can you Sir, as Mayor, demand the discontinuation of nuclear transport through the city and its suburbs?”

See in more detail, plus news of a few accidents/incidents and Brian Quail’s protest halting the convoy: https://nuclearindustries.wordpress.com/2016/03/23/does-the-public-know-about-the-nuclear-hazard-on-britains-roads-and-railways/

 

 

 

 

 

bham 2 green commission logo Birmingham’s Green Commission reported that people from public and private sector industries,  transport policy, energy, fleet management, developers and planners attended the launch of the Council’s Blueprint for Low Carbon Fuel Infrastructure.

The Blueprint, developed by Element Energy, identifies the key priorities for the refuelling and recharging infrastructure needed to support growing fleets of low and ultra-low carbon vehicles. It covers electric, hydrogen, (bio)methane and LPG vehicles, and has been developed in close consultation with fleet operators active in the Birmingham area. Thanks to the evidence base aggregated for the Blueprint, several projects are already underway or in preparation – from LPG taxis, to gas station, and hydrogen buses. Transport for London reports that the city now has a fleet of eight hydrogen fuel buses running on route RV1 between Covent Garden and Tower Gateway. Hydrogen fuel buses emitting nothing but water into the air.

A Shirley engineer brought the work of Intelligent Energy to our attention. Their powerful hydrogen fuel cell technology is used ‘across a diverse range of applications’, providing proof in the field of how their fuel cells can be used to reduce carbon emissions while providing clean, silent, always-on power, without the need for subsidy. He pointed out that though an electric car can only go so far before needing to refuel – and charging takes hours – a hydrogen fuel cell behaves like electricity and can refuel in a few minutes at a hydrogen pump.

In the West Midlands, Coventry University is noted for its research and development in this and other automotive fields. Note its ‘spin off’ microcab business, its hydrogen car and a developing network of refuelling stations in Coventry, Birmingham, Swindon and Glamorgan.

hydrogen2 filling stations europe

Boats running on hydrogen are already used on Amsterdam’s canals, a city that is working on a hydrogen filling facility. The ever-expanding network of hydrogen filling stations in Europe was mapped in 2013 – above.

Prof Rex Harris, engineering (metallurgy, rare earths), Birmingham University, and his team, have pioneered the hydrogen-fuelled barge with their prototype, the Ross Barlow (below). See official site: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/metallurgy-materials/hydrogen/protium-boat.aspx and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ross_Barlow.

ross barlow annotatedHydrogen vehicles are travelling by road and canal and work is ongoing in the field of rail travel – the development and design of a hydrogen-hybrid locomotive. Concerns about energy security and increasing diesel prices have prompted the railway industry to explore alternative fuel sources. Hydrogen is one of these – a promising alternative to diesel – an energy carrier which can be made from several feedstocks, and when combusted with oxygen, creates only water and heat or, if utilised in a fuel cell, also produces electrical energy.

hydrailHydrail design proposed at the 2012 International Hydrail Conference at the University of Birmingham: http://spellerweb.net/prindex/Hydrail.html

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In Development and design of a narrow-gauge hydrogen-hybrid locomotive, a paper published in the Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit January 2016, the authors (University of Birmingham) describe the design methodology for a prototype narrow-gauge hydrogen fuel cell locomotive in order to demonstrate a proof of the concept of using hydrogen technology for railway motive power. As far as the authors know, Hydrogen Pioneer, the Railway Challenge Team’s vehicle, is the UK’s first practical hydrogen-powered locomotive. It successfully completed all the physical performance challenges or requirements set by the IMechE for any contending team through which the proof of the concept of a hydrogen-hybrid locomotive was established.

bham 2air pollution

There are serious concerns about the combustion of diesel – the primary fuel for road, canal and railway motive power – releasing emissions at the point of use. These concerns are leading to increasing regulation and possible prosecution in places such as Birmingham where the limits are regularly breached, leading to mounting ill-health and estimated thousands of premature deaths.

Air Quality News reports that opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn raised the issue of UK air pollution in Parliament during PMQs (March 16).

He said that it was the “sad truth” that 500,000 people will die “because of this country’s failure to comply with international law on air pollution”, citing a recent Royal College of Physicians report that this costs economy £20 billion a year.

Mr Corbyn called on the government to act “to make us comply with international law and, above all, help the health of the people of this country”.

We hope he will support the development of hydrogen fuelled vehicles which emit nothing but water into the air.

 

 

 

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