Archives for posts with tag: Coventry

Time-pressed residents of Birmingham, Solihull, Cannock, Dudley, Coventry, Lichfield, Sandwell, South Staffs, Tamworth, Walsall and Wolverhampton who regularly scan their section of the Brummie site, appreciate the free service it gives, whatever their interests. Main news items covered, include a range of locally run websites, music and the arts, sport and business.

Links to them give those sites a wider readership than would otherwise have been possible. Until the final few months Mark was a helpful and courteous correspondent and this later lack of response was ascribed to pressure of other work, which involved travelling abroad. We now can see that there may have been health concerns claiming priority.

Three of many interests served: Our Birmingham, West Midlands Producers and Localise West Midlands thank him and hope that a way will be found to maintain the Brummie.






john clancyBefore receiving ‘stop press’ news about a grant for hydrogen buses, we recalled the words of Birmingham City’s Council leader, “Transport links and the Buses Bill are key to making local economies across the UK more economically inclusive and prosperous. High quality public transport is fundamental to ensuring more inclusive growth. Poor air quality is responsible for around the same number of deaths across core cities as it is in London and must be tackled if our cities are to thrive.”

This was a paragraph written by Cllr John Clancy to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, urging him to put improved transport links between the UK’s major cities at the top of his ‘to-do’ list.

We then asked, ‘why not consider a gradual transition to cleaner forms of road and waterway passenger transport’?


It is reported that the Icknield Port Loop development will open up a little-used and inaccessible corner of the city’s canal network, creating 1.5km of new towpath, new moorings, waterbus stops and space for historic boats.

Thames river buses are well used and people arriving in Leeds by train can take a water taxi from Granary Wharf every day, travelling along a scenic canal route – free of charge. The service is funded by the docks’ management.


Such services could be introduced on Birmingham canals, which are lined with many handsome, well-designed industrial buildings, some in need of restoration for reuse, and could become a pleasing feature of the city, with commuters and visitors travelling by water.

Diesel emissions would become a distant memory as cleaner vehicles are used on road and waterways.

Microcab, Coventry University’s spin-off company, has for several years operated hydrogen-fuelled minicabs powered by motors so green their only “emission” is water pure enough to drink and the UK’s first hydrogen fuelling station was opened at the University of Birmingham before a fleet of five Microcabs was delivered to the University of Birmingham in 2008.

And as Professor Harris (Metallurgy and Materials, University of Birmingham) pointed out during a recent BMI address, ‘Hydrogen and Rare Earth Magnets: Towards a Pollution Free Environment’ the Ross Barlow canal boat, operating between the University and the City Centre, is powered by hydrogen.

ross barlow city background

Instead of being mired every day in city centre congestion, many travellers could escape to the outskirts by water and – as the use of clean fuel rose – the burden on the NHS would be lessened.

Is this revolution on its way? The Tyburn Mail reports that Birmingham City Council and Transport for London has jointly been given £2.8 million by the Government’s  Department for Transport for 42 state-of-the-art hydrogen fuel cell buses.













end jc brum2

‘A wonderful crowd of 1,000+ in a wonderful city’ – and thousands also turn out in Coventry, Preston and Liverpool.

The Facebook entry opens with an apology to those who couldn’t get in the room. Site stats indicate that hundreds found news of the event on this site. Jeremy Corbyn summarises: “We discussed economics, education, foreign policy & our hopes for Britain”

end jc brum

The end of Jeremy Corbyn’s speech in Birmingham on Sunday afternoon may be seen and heard here’ Final words:

“(I)t’s so exciting that in the summer of 2015, when so much of politics has come alive. People have come together because they want – and they are determined to achieve – something decent and better. Not just in this country but as our contribution to the rest of the world”.

We hope to see a first-hand account written for the Birmingham Press.


smog april 14 brumIn April this year, parts of London, the south-east and the Midlands were covered by smog. Elderly people and asthmatics were told to stay indoors or to avoid exercise.


The Birmingham Press, courtesy of the Brummie aggregator, has covered the response of BFOE’s Julien Pritchard to the recent report by the Commons Environmental Audit Committee that air pollution is a “public health crisis” causing almost as many deaths – 29,000 deaths annually – as smoking. The BBC reports that the committee found traffic responsible for 42% of carbon monoxide, 46% of nitrogen oxides and 26% of particulate matter pollution and proposed a scrappage scheme for diesel cars to cut emissions and changes to fuel duty to encourage low nitrogen dioxide vehicles as well as low carbon dioxide.

hyd buscitiesWalking and cycling are  advocated as “ultimate low emission” options and some will make the transition. For mass transit, however, installing hydrogen buses with roof-mounted fuel tanks is a good move.

Despite its serious levels of air-pollution, Birmingham has not, as yet, opted to have clean tourist and/or commuter buses and barges

ross barlow city backgroundAnd despite work done in the heart of the city designing a hydrogen-fuelled barge, by Professor Harris’ team at Birmingham University (see Energy Daily’s report from Switzerland) the Mailbox shuttle and other vessels operated by B’ham Canal Boat Services on its large canal network do not use cleaner fuels. And even though pioneering work is ongoing at Coventry University on cleaner vehicles, that city is also afflicted by traffic-related pollution.

Powering a cleaner future: in 2011 the first of a fleet of eight hydrogen fuel cell buses entered service on London’s bus route RV1.

hyd boris

Mayor Johnson sees hydrogen as a universal fuel playing a major role in a clean, sustainable energy future.

hydrogen london logoHydrogen, if produced from a carbon-neutral source – London’s waste, solar or wind power – is a carbon-neutral and emission-free fuel.

America’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), has carried out US Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus Evaluations. Its findings are that ‘transit’ buses are one of the best ‘early’ transportation applications for fuel cell technology.

Will this or the next government ever take suitable action?

Dr Ian Mudway, a lecturer in respiratory toxicology at King’s College London, told the BBC: “The evidence is there. The 29,000 figure is very solid, so really it is a case of acting. But it is a strange one, because it’s their third [report] in five years and it is an attempt to get the government to do anything”.

Other national or state governments have acted:

hyd cities

Read more at Its hydrogen and fuel cells page gives an introduction to this technology.

coventry methodist central hallFind out at Coventry Central Hall from 10.30am – 5pm on Saturday 1st March.

  • What’s the link between Coventry and cluster munitions or Birmingham and Bahrain’s repression?
  • How is Lichfield linked to drone attacks in Gaza?
  • Are local councils really investing £90 million in arms-dealers?

A map of the venue and how to get there here:

The main room is easily accessible to people with mobility difficulties, and there is a lift to the first and second floors of the building. However, unfortunately the venue is not fully accessible so please let Kat Hobbs know if you have any access requirements and she will do our best to meet those.

A vegetarian lunch will be also provided on the day, so please let Kat know if you require a vegan meal or have any special dietary requirements.

Please get in touch if you intend to come, as lunch will be provided and it would be great to get an idea of numbers.

Contact Kat Hobbs
Local Campaigns Co-ordinator
Campaign Against Arms Trade / 0207 281 0297


In addition to MP  John Hemming’s ongoing work with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil and Gas (APPGOPO), a parliamentary group looking at the issues of fossil fuel depletion, and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Family Law and The Court of Protection, several supportive local and non-constituency actions have come to our notice.

The most recent is an update in the Co-operative News on his work with the bid by Remploy staff to set up a worker co-op in the Midlands, after three sites in Coventry, Birmingham and Derby were closed. The sites employed 220 workers, 95% with a disability.

Leeds, making timber products and Bolton, circuit board assemblies, managed it

Left to right: Carl Lawton, Dr Brian Sloan and Oliver Randell

Left to right: Carl Lawton, Dr Brian Sloan and Oliver Randell

Encouraged by Oliver Randell, co-founder of Local Business Partners, the Bolton factory will be managed by former Remploy employees and former Remploy manager and quality assurance technician, Carl Lawton. Dr Brian Sloan, chief economist of Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce is a trustee. News of the York venture may be read here.

John Hemming claims that Remploy staff were not given access to important financial information and, therefore, the bidding process was weighted against them.

He joined the GMB in calling for more transparency in the bidding process.

The GMB union said that the government has failed to deliver on its promise to support worker co-operatives. Official publicity around the sale of Remploy had talked about worker co-operatives, getting workers more involved and protecting jobs.

Dominic Hinks, from the GMB trade union, said the bid put forward a sustainable business plan and additional profits would have been re-invested into the community. The factory would have also opened up training opportunities for the local community.

Regular readers, and visitors to this website from over 20 countries, will draw their own conclusions.