Big Clean Switch to Renewable Energy

09/03/2018 at 2:01 pm | Posted in Community energy, Solar power | Leave a comment

This is a simple way to switch your home or business to a supplier who only buys renewable energy, so people in Balsall Heath may want to consider it. The latest figures from the government show that 30% of electricity is now being generated from renewable sources; wind, sun, water etc – YES they do work! Why would you want to pay for dirty fuels? Climate Action West Midlands will use any money it makes from the switching to fund small community carbon saving projects. Clean Energy Switch can be accessed via the site



Street Audit

05/02/2018 at 1:40 pm | Posted in Cycling, Recycling, Walking | Leave a comment

We are going to have a street audit of Edward Road in Balsall Heath on Wednesday 7th February at 2pm. The idea is to walk the length of the road, noting any problems for pedestrians; such as blocked footway, poor parking,  dangerous crossing,  litter and dumped items. We want to identify who may be able to take action, especially to prevent the problems from repeating.  Could rubbish be sent to recycling?

A better environment would encourage people  to walk and cycle short distances rather than drive everywhere. We will report back on our findings, via this blog. Anyone interested is most welcome to join us. A follow up Spring Clean event should happen next month. Meet up 2pm on Wednesday outside MECC, corner of Edward Road and Court Road – take about an hour.

Open session at Zero Carbon House

18/01/2018 at 4:47 pm | Posted in Community energy, Home Energy saving | Leave a comment

It was the most energy efficient house in the country when it was built, right here in Balsall Heath. A house with no bills and no radiators or gas supply! How do they do it?

Following a recent BBC programme, the house will again open to visitors on the morning of  Thursday 1st February, 11am to 1pm. Please book a place if you want to visit. More details at the website ZCH

If you cannot visit on this day, then there is a lovely video about the house


The Zero Carbon House

Clean Air Day – the Kings Heath experiment

08/01/2018 at 4:30 pm | Posted in Air pollution | Leave a comment

On December 1st, 2017 a Clean Air Action Day took place in Kings Heath, mainly on the High Street/Alcester Road. Measures included removing on-street parking and changing the way the traffic lights functioned, for just one day.

Enlisting the help of enthusiasts and sceptics from the local community, BBC TV staged the first ever large-scale experiment of its kind: using people power to try to bring about a quantifiable improvement in air quality for a single day., and to measure the results.

The results are broadcast on Wednesday 10th January at 9pm on BBC2. Watch again on iPlayer





Protect Birmingham Cyclists

03/12/2017 at 4:57 pm | Posted in Cycling | Leave a comment

People from Balsall Heath joined a column of riders (3rd December) to deliver their petition to Andy Street, elected Mayor of the West Midlands. We rode from the Custard Factory to Millennium Point,  with the Mayor riding along with us, where he received the petition. It was signed by more than 5,000 people and asked him to speed up on providing safe cycling space,  following the recent death of a young doctor near the cricket ground

The first, and the last, cycle route into Birmingham city centre was opened in 1990, coming through Cannon Hill Park: it is very well used. We are still waiting for the second one, despite many millions having been made available for a Birmingham Cycle Revolution since 2013, as the petition says. The Highways Department did plan cycle lanes up both sides of the Moseley Road and Alcester Road, but they were abandoned, as being impractical. Then they signed some routes along back streets, but again abandoned them, so the markings are now wearing away.

Mayor Andy Street told assembled cyclists that he “got it” and he would back a segregated cycle way across the city. This would start to Protect Birmingham Cyclists


Children of the Trees

22/11/2017 at 4:41 pm | Posted in Trees | Leave a comment

People of all ages turned out to help plant a new generation of trees in Calthorpe Park on Wednesday 22nd November. The trees were paid for by Birmingham Trees for Life, who fund this work in parks. Children from Percy Shurmer Academy wielded their small spades with enthusiasm. Still younger children from St Paul’s Nursery got involved and got excited. Councillor Tony Kennedy came and lent a hand to the Council’s Woodlands Team, as did a number of other adult-sized people – thanks to them for coming. Confirmation of the park’s history was provided when some fragments of Victorian pot were dug up.

In a morning, 11 trees were put in. When one hole filled up with water, we put in a weeping willow; it should enjoy having wet feet. The trees were suggested by Balsall Heath is Our Planet, following our Tree Survey in the summer, and they included a mulberry, a magnolia and a witch hazel, with the aim of providing flowers and fruit around the year. Thumbs up from passing dog walkers!

Many thanks to Birmingham Trees for Life Their lovely pictures

Community Tree Planting in Calthorpe Park

06/11/2017 at 3:28 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Community Tree Planting in Calthorpe Park

To be held on Wednesday 22 November – we start at 10.30am at Calthorpe Well Being Hub, Edward Road corner with Cheddar Road B12 9LF

You can help, or just watch and learn more about trees!

Following a Tree Survey last summer, we are supporting a morning of tree planting in Calthorpe Park by’ Birmingham Trees for Life’. The aim is to add some younger and more interesting trees, as well as some fruit trees.

All ages welcome See Trees for Life 

Map of Calthorpe Existing


Cyclists Sad, but also Angry

16/10/2017 at 7:23 pm | Posted in Cycling | 1 Comment

A long column of cyclists rode out of Birmingham University on 16 October and we continued up Pershore Road, to pay tribute near the site where a few days earlier a young doctor from the Children’s Hospital was killed by a lorry . Her partner and colleagues from the hospital spoke very movingly, as people lit candles, about how unsafe Birmingham’s roads are for cyclists and they pledged themselves to keep up the pressure for more be done to protect cyclists on the roads.

The government has funded a “Birmingham Cycle Revolution” but there is little sign of it at many dangerous junctions, such as the one at Pershore Road/Edgbaston Road where Dr Suzanna Bull was killed. A petition has been started to West Midlands major Andy Street called Protect Birmingham Cyclists, and more than 2,000 have already signed it 


Free bike, if you need one

26/09/2017 at 1:09 pm | Posted in Cycling | Leave a comment

Birmingham City Council is again giving FREE orange-coloured Raleigh bikes to people who need them to get around.

Big Birmingham Bikes aims to encourage cycling by giving free bikes with priority given to families who will cycle together, or to apprentices or refugees. Cyclists will be asked to enter a partnership to increase their cycling every week. If you know of an orange bike not being used, then do report it.

Birmingham has only about 1% of people cycling to work at present which makes it one of the lowest levels of any city in Britain. Most car journeys are quite short and we have some of the highest bus fares in the country –  so more cycling is definitely possible. Safe cycling lessons are on offer.

Applications for a bike can be made on a form from a WellBeing Centre, such as that on Edward Road, or online here  Their email is here

Walking route into city centre

11/09/2017 at 12:31 pm | Posted in Walking | Leave a comment

Walkers set out from Balsall Heath Library on 9th September with the idea of discovering a safe and quiet walking route into Birmingham city centre. We strode through green spaces down to the River Rea, where we saw some public art and lovely flowers among the grass. Then crossed the Middleway, turning left through more green spaces in Highgate to reach the zebra crossing of Sherlock Street, so into Hope Street, after which we used a new pedestrian crossing of Bristol Road. Following Rickman Drive we entered Moonlit Park, then Sunset Park, exited onto Langley Walk, which took us to the bombed out St Thomas’s church with its Peace Garden. From there on up Washington Street, then beside The Cube to join the canal towpath all the way to the back of the Convention Centre (toilets!). We finished behind the Library of Birmingham in the City Centre Gardens. Here we met the other walkers and cyclists who had come in by other green routes and we all received the praise of the Lord Mayor.

We agreed that our route was surprisingly peaceful and traffic free, and these green spaces should be signed and made better known. Birmingham isn’t just roads and traffic ! 

John Newson, development officer, Balsall Heath Is Our Planet


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