Community Energy Birmingham – wants volunteer treasurer

21/05/2014 at 2:49 pm | Posted in Community energy, Solar power | Leave a comment
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CF20 pic2
Community Energy Birmingham say that they are “looking for someone to take over the role of volunteer Treasurer/ Finance manager in the team of this renewable energy co-operative. You may be interested in the position yourself or you may know of someone who you think might meet our person specification. We have no income to pay for work at present, and your reward will be helping to establish a very worthwhile venture. The time commitment per month will be modest. We have projects ready to go for renewable energy installations on community sites in South Birmingham. We are seeking someone with skills and experience in managing the finances of a small business, a voluntary organisation or co-operative. Interest in renewable energy is useful, but we have that knowledge within the team. Details are attached – please contact us for an informal discussion : –
Please reply to Angela Cooper at angela.cooper[at] ASP if possible by mid-June
More about CEB

Cycling Revolution – some small steps

01/05/2014 at 12:52 pm | Posted in Cycling | Leave a comment

Birmingham City Council has been awarded the millions that it applied for at the end of 2013 from central government to develop safer cycling.
Here in Balsall Heath we can expect improvements to the existing Rea valley route, new cycle lanes along the Moseley Raod A435, and perhaps something as ‘link’ routes. This is explained on the Council’s webpage Birmingham Cycling Revolution
I am trying to get an event at which local cyclists will be able to see, discuss and respond to the proposals this summer. If you want to be kept informed, please send me your details to John Newson development officer BHIOP [at]

Top 5 Recycling Tips

20/04/2014 at 1:29 pm | Posted in Recycling | 1 Comment

In this new video on Youtube I explain ways to help people to compost and recycle their household waste

Sustainability Fair comes to Digbeth

14/02/2014 at 4:00 pm | Posted in uncategorised | Leave a comment

Everyone is welcome to the Sustainability Spring Fair
which Birmingham City Council is holding down in the old Custard Factory in Digbeth on Saturday 8th March from 10.30am to 5.00pmin The venue is the Old Library and the Dome at the Custard Factory, Gibb Street, Digbeth They promise to celebrate sustainable lifestyles in a fun, educational way with stalls and attractions for all. FREE ENTRY

However, i am less sure about clebrating Climate Week at a time when our city and our island is battered with an unprededented succession of storms and floods. It is time to take these natural disasters very seriously and behave as though we are responsible for their causes and mean to mend our ways.
See you at the fair. John Newson

Swap Shop in Balsall Heath

13/01/2014 at 3:12 pm | Posted in Recycling | Leave a comment

Swap ShopThe Swap Shop is where you take unwanted items and take home something different that you like – it mainly works for clothing. No money changes hands. If everything gets used twice then we only need to make half as much stuff – how environementally friendly is that?
The venue is the ORT cafe in the old Print Works on Moseley Road, opposite the swimming baths.
Swap Shop happens Saturdays 1-5pm in ORT cafe. Dates are 25 January, 22 February and 22 March. Some excellent food and cakes at the cafe. More details at the website

Low Carbon in Poland

13/01/2014 at 2:51 pm | Posted in uncategorised | Leave a comment

This summer I travelled from balsall Heath to Poland on a placement with the EU’s “Low Carbon Pioneers” programme. This exchanges people involved in building a low carbon society in their own region with others across Europe. First was a placement about renewable energy in Birmingham, then five weeks abroad.

Poland struggled with rebuilding after World War 2, and then moving on from Communism. An independent environmental movement has only begun to emerge, so the downsides of development are not much discussed. I was shocked to see a Tesco superstore in Wroclaw on what had been allotments. Much coal is burned for winter heat and electricity generation so carbon reduction seems a big ask. However, travelling through Germany I saw wind turbines and solar arrays everywhere, waiting to spread when a feed in tariff for clean power comes to Poland. The project we worked on was an Ecopark. I showed slides of green space in Birmingham, and the Bee Garden idea was picked up.

Eastern Europe can benefit from the experience of our environmental movement. They can also look to their own land and traditions for the future.

Pioneers into Practice is recruiting for 2014 see

20 is Plenty

19/11/2013 at 2:40 pm | Posted in Cycling | Leave a comment

Birmingham City Council is consulting now about whether 20mph should be the norm on residential streets in Birmingham. This is the case in many European and increasingly in British cities. It is simple for everyone to understand, reduces road casualties, reduces noise and pollution and encourages people to walk and cycle. The responses are apparently going against this change at present; anyone wanting to support 20mph should fill in the short questionnaire at‎

The house that generates its own energy

08/08/2013 at 2:32 pm | Posted in Home Energy saving, Solar power | Leave a comment

Balsall Heath has its own demonstration SuperHome. Open to the public Saturday 14th September from 11am-4pm.

This is a house so energy effcient that it actually generates more energy that it uses over the course of a year. This is a really inspiring example and the open day is your ideal chance to see how it works and meet the architect John Christphers who lives there with his partner Jo and young son Theo. As well as adult tours there will be a special children’s presentation at 2pm.
Advanced booking is required. For more information see

Meadow Transplanted

12/07/2013 at 10:28 am | Posted in Wildlife | Leave a comment


A team of volunteers has transplanted a meadow from Worcestershirer to Balsall Heath. This was one of seven such done on 10th July by the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country. Thanks everyone!


Make Hay while the Sun Shines

02/07/2013 at 10:50 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Volunteers wanted for one afternoon Wednesday 10th July – 2pm start
Community Hay Strewing
The Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust aim to create a wildflower meadow in Balsall Heath
The idea is to bring a lorry load of hay from a meadow elsewhere with the right seeds in it,
To appear next spring as a beautiful wildflower meadow! A Bee Heaven

The meadow is between Clevedon Road and the River Rea (B12 9HD ). Beside 35 bus route and Rea Valley Cycle route.
Car parking in adjoining side streets.
If you can help at all please reply to me, as many hands will make light work…
Your phone number in case of cancellation will be useful.
Note – it is bedside a road and we cannot be responsible for young children.
Thank you very much.
John Newson

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