Chance for millions to provide for city cyclists

18/04/2013 at 3:51 pm | Posted in Cycling | Leave a comment

A Cycle City Ambition competition is being held to see who gets £millions to upgrade cycling.

If you wish to support Birmingham City Council’s bid for national funds to improve conditions for cyclists, please do this soon by visiting here   

Some points about this;

  1. Inner city streets are congested and cannot accommodate more cars. Cycling is cheap, accessible and offers a real alternative for daily journeys to work, school etc. City Centre and other destinations are within range for 15,000 residents in this neighbourhood alone.
  2. People are afraid to cycle because of lack of protection from motor traffic. Traffic speeds are actually increasing, as volumes fall. Cyclist casualties are rising.
  3.  The Rea Valley cycleway, opened 1991, has proved that when given a safer route people will cycle in growing numbers. Please learn from this experience and duplicate it.
  4.   Young people should feel safe to cycle to school or college. This will do much to address problems of the school run and traffic around schools.
  5. Many people have nowhere to store a bike and would like to join a cycle rental scheme as in London and Paris.

Cutting Bills by Collective Switching

25/02/2013 at 2:40 pm | Posted in Home Energy saving | Leave a comment

Birmingham & Solihull Together has been launched, aiming to cut people’s energy bills by collective switching. People join together to negotiate a lower price from energy suppliers.

Opens February 18th, closes March 17th 2013. Well worth checking out their website

Of course the only permanent way to cut your bills is to use less fuel, through energy saving measures such as those installed by Birmingham Energy Savers

Does your home need serious energy-saving work?

17/12/2012 at 4:27 pm | Posted in Home Energy saving | Leave a comment

If you own or rent from a private landlord a house in the Balsall Heath area of Birmingham that is old and expensive to heat, you could be eligible for a package of subsidised energy-saving work this winter,

Heat loss house  For example;

  Loft insulation

  Solid or cavity wall insulation

  New efficient gas condensing boiler

  New controls on heating

Your contribution would be spread out over many years, covered by the savings.

I can discuss this with you if you give me your contact details. You could be referred to the Council’s Birmingham Energy Savers scheme for early action.  John Newson  Balsall Heath Is Our Planet for independent advice 0121 440 7919 office hours bhiop[at]  Jericho Blg, 198 Edward Rd B12

Solar Roof at Ackers Adventure

30/11/2012 at 12:19 pm | Posted in Community energy, Solar power | Leave a comment

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Ackers Adventure offers inner city young people adventurous outdoor activities. The organisation also wants to control its electricity bills and to demonstrate renewable energy. Recently, an official launch was held for the new solar roof there, which is feeding clean energy into the building. This was done through a partnership with CORE50 (community renewable energy 50); a co-op that allows local people to invest in renewable energy, for the benefit of the community. For this project, a grant was obtained from E.ON’s sustainable energy fund.

Well done everyone !!! Link to CORE50 website

Solar Roof at MAC

30/11/2012 at 11:42 am | Posted in Community energy, Solar power | Leave a comment

The MAC – Midlands Arts Centre in Camnon Hill Park have told me that they have installed solar panels on the main roof , so some of the electricity used in the building is from the Sun.  MAC has a Green Working Group to look at how they can continually improve their environmental performance.  Early next year, MAC hopes to display some of information about this in the public area and on the website, so people can see what they currently do and also make suggestions.

20mph on residential streets

07/11/2012 at 3:02 pm | Posted in Cycling | Leave a comment

Congratulations to Birmingham City Council; the councillors have unanimously backed a phased programme of introducing 20mph zones on residential roads, with consultation to ensure they meet the needs of local communities. This is normal for  many cities in Europe.

Balsall Heath residents have long pointed to speeding cars as a danger on side streets, where responsible drivers already stick to 20mph. The effect on journey times of cars over short distances will be insignifcant, but the impact on a pedestrian or a cyclist will be much reduced at lower speeds. There will now be public consultation, so residents of our neighbourhood and others, who will have the chance to put people’s safety first. Then the streets will have to be gradually redesigned back to being for safe driving, which shares the road with pedestrians and cyclists. Drivers will also save on fuel if they drive at a slow steady pace, with less use of the accelerator and brakes. Everyone can expect to gain.

Cycling in Birmingham – what can be done?

16/10/2012 at 3:36 pm | Posted in Cycling | Leave a comment

Birmingham City Council is having a scrutiny process, to look at how its provision for cyclists can be upgraded. Just 1 in 66 commuting journeys was by bike in the 2001 census, although there has been a real surge in the last 10 years. Trouble is that most people are still too scared to cycle on Birmingham’s roads, and in fact cycle casualties have been increasing.

The Rea valley cycle route through Balsall Heath is the best in the city and it is used all day, every day, showing how people respond, given a half-decent facility. Bristol has spent £23 millions on cycle facilities and transformed itself. The Selly Oak bypass cost £63 million for comparison. Has Birmingham got the will to catch up with other cycling cities in Britain and Europe? A submission to the scrutiny from BHIOP will be sent for deadline 19 October, and you can obtain a copy from me John Newson bhiop[at]

Bike Train to city centre

24/09/2012 at 11:18 am | Posted in Cycling | 2 Comments

I was happy to join the Bike Train again as it rolled through Moseley and Balsall Heath, taking us into the city centre. Riding together certainly makes cars give way to the ‘train’. This is a generally frightening city for cycling in, and most people will not do it until they are made to feel safer. Bike Trains are one approach – they have run in Brighton every day for some time. Thanks for Pushbikes, Sustrans and Friends of the Earth for supporting this run. Just a little, little input for time and publicity costs could really get bike trains running in Birmingham.

Renaissance in Balsall Heath

19/09/2012 at 2:52 pm | Posted in uncategorised | Leave a comment

Many thanks to the Old Print Works for hosting our AGM of Balsall Heath Is Our Planet. The building is certainly coming back to life and giving a great example of the creativity that can revive older buildings with heritage value. The food from the ORT Cafe was just what we wanted, and having this facing onto the Moseley Road, opposite our gloroius swimming baths is a huge step forward. The maintenance of opening hours at the Library is also helping keep the area alive.

One can now have a good day out in Balsall Heath.. Links to Old Print Works and ORT Cafe




BHIOP Annual General Meeting

04/09/2012 at 3:29 pm | Posted in uncategorised | Leave a comment

You are invited to the  Balsall Heath Is Our Planet

 Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 11th September 2012

Please let us know if you can attend to help renew the organisation and hear about progress on our projects and future plans. Do bring a friend, guest or partner if you like. We would like an idea of numbers for catering..

6.00 Start – at the Old Print Works, Moseley Road, Balsall Heath (opposite the swimming baths, parking in Edward Road, walk through the courtyard to red Reception door)

Tea, coffee and light refreshments will be available

6.20 Annual General Meeting business of BHIOP (a registered company and registered charity)

  • Election of trustees
  • Adoption of annual report and accounts 2010-11

6.45 Report on project progress, and slide show, with discussion of future plans

Finish by 8.00


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