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Yes, you heard it here first … myself and a willing accomplice will be attempting to become vegetarians for a week in the name of ‘National Vegetarian Week‘, which will start next week (24/5/2010-30/5/2010). Every day, we will be recording & uploading home videos of how we’re getting on, so tune into this blog all of next week to revel in my ‘proceedings’…I warn you now Maccies, profits will take a dent next week!

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*A Article*

The proposed erection of a £200m waste management plant has ignited an uproar from local officials, following the plan’s grand unveiling this week.

Chairman of Bridgtown Parish Council, Eddie Smith dubbed Cannock a “dumping ground” after seeing Biffa‘s plans to build the 400,000 tonne  plant on the outskirts of the town, at the near-by Lakeside Industrial Park, Norton Canes.

He Said: “I am totally opposed to these plans – they can’t keep shoving stuff in Cannock for us to get rid of. We intend to look at the plans closely, then get in contact with Environmental Health. We are concerned by what is being filtered into the air for people to breathe in.”

Residents speak out

The town already sports a large industrial landfill site along Orbital Way, by waste giants Biffa Waste Services Ltd, and many regular users of the road and visitors to nearby Sainsbury’s Supermarket have strong opinions on it:

Edith Brittle, 70, from Hednesford, Cannock can’t understand why the town needs another plant:

“I can’t understand why they fell the need to stick up yet another waste plant in the town, the site we’ve got already has been sufficient enough for donkey’s years! Why do we need another one now? They’ve got more money than sense! The council should be putting money into other things.”

Sarah Evans, 40, from Pye Green, Hednesford feels the smells from the two plants will put people off going shopping:

“In the summer you can’t drive down the Orbital with your windows down the smell is that bad. Sainsbury’s is lucky it’s downwind so their customers don’t get put off. But from where it seems this new plant is going, I think it will affect the Orbital Business Park. Who wants to do their food shopping in an area that stinks of waste?”

Biffa speaks out

The new plant would entail the construction of a state-of-the-art energy plant in the Kingswood Lakeside Industrial Park, revised vehicle access, and increased capacity of the existing anaerobic digestion facility.

It will deal only with the area’s ‘non-hazardous commercial and idustrial waste’ – waste remaining after recycling and composting, in turn, generating 34 megawatts of electricity – which is enough to power around 68,000 homes.

Biffa remain positive for their plans to go ahead, and due to apply to Staffordshire County Council in June later this year

Jeff Rhodes, Biffa’s Head of Panning looks forward:

“We have formalised a plan to bring a number of proposed, linked actions under one comprehensive scheme

However, Cllr Smith does not see the ‘bright side’ to this proposal, even noting that other districts are revelling in their supposed ‘green credentials’, when all of their waste was being brought into Cannock.

The exhibition

The exhibition of the plans will be held, this Thursday (May 21), from 2pm-8pm and on Friday (May 22) 10am-4pm.

If the plans get the ‘green light’, it could be up and running by 2014.

It sounds technical…and i can assure you it IS…

2 hours later all i have to show for my hper-yahoo pipe/google calendar is a screen shot of it!

Enjoy!

In today’s lecture, we received a very informative presentation from the BBC’s Graham Holliday, followed up by putting the ‘preach in to practice’ …

This is my feeble attempt at making a Google Map…

*A Article*

The Birmingham Post has recently reported that the new ‘Climate Change Action Plan‘ entails a proposed £1 billion energy bill cut over the next 15 years in Birmingham alone, but is this too ambitious?

The proposed plan will mean that everyone will be expected to contribute to the effort, including every household, local business, and organisation.

Birmingham City council plans to invest money in ‘alternative energy sources’ in order to play their part, which they hope will help cut the city’s usual energy bill.

‘Council officials have estimated the city’s total energy consumption, at current prices, costs £2.2 billion a year – £1.5 billion for gas and electricity and £700 million for petrol and diesel’. (Birmingham Post)

Birmingham City Council speaks out

Birmingham Recycled approached a number of council officials and members of ‘green organisations’ in order to get their views on the proposed cuts, and whether they were feasible for the city to make.

Cllr Paul Tilsley, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, is optimistic that the hefty targets can be achieved, having already made “huge strides forward on the green agenda”, by managing to cut carbon emissions by 103,000 tonnes last year alone.

‘Birmingham has already shown its commitment through initiatives on district energy, electric vehicles and housing retrofitting, but keeping up this level of progress will be challenging, which is why it is essential to have a structured approach to tackling the issue in the form of the Birmingham Climate Change Action Plan.’

‘There is plenty of work still to do but we now have a road map that plots how we can reach the ambitious, but essential, goals we have set. It is imperative we take action to enhance energy efficiency across all sectors as it will help reduce fuel poverty, boost businesses, improve residents’ health and make Birmingham a better city in which to live, work and play.’

The main target, transport

The council’s first move will me to target the huge 1.57 tonnes of carbon emission (according to the latest study carried out in 2005), created in Birmingham through transport.

Money-saving tips that will be promoted to Birmingham motorists in the coming months and years as the programme is developed include:

Before driving: planning the shortest route in terms of distance, time and fuel use, ensuring tyre pressures are correct, clearing out any extra/unnecessary weight in vehicles, and having them serviced regularly
While driving: speed up and slow down smoothly, change gears at lower revs, switching off engines if you’re likely to be stationary for more than three minutes, and not using air conditioning unless essential

A report produced by environmental think-tank Forum for the Future in 2008 suggested that by adopting these good habits, a typical motorist who drives 10,000 miles a year could save 10 per cent of their fuel (£10 a month), a figure based on fuel costing £1 a litre – which means based on current prices they would save even more.

The driving tips – inspired changes made to the driving test in 2008, the national Act on CO2 campaign and the city council’sTravelWise initiative – are seen as part of the solution to cut this figure to 0.66 tonnes by 2026, equivalent to a reduction of 48 per cent when compared to 1990 levels.

Birmingham Friends Of the Earth shares their thoughts

Environmental outreach officer for BFOEKarl Whale offers a more reserved view on the planned targets:

‘Personally I think they are ambitious but not impossible targets, the motivation’s money, but money is the root of all evil so maybe they’ll lose site of the objectives that they’ve set. However if people were less bothered by the appearances of some renewable energy sources it’s possible … But then that’s an excuse because if people understood the issues of global warming they’d cut their noses off to spite they’re face.’

The plans may not be received with open arms from Birmingham’s ‘motor industry’, as Cllr Tilsley hints that they may have to take a knock back.

‘Birmingham, thanks to its rich industrial heritage, has a reputation for being a motor city. That is why – despite the exciting plans we have for the city to be at the forefront of the green vehicle revolution – we need to look at things that will enable us to reduce emissions from existing forms of transport.’

‘The simple tips we want to promote will make a big difference as we begin the transition from fossil fuel to low-carbon technologies. I would urge all motorists in the city, from commuters to taxi and bus operators to those running haulage firms to take these points on board when on the road.’

Having received mixed responses from council and ‘green’ officials alike, we at Birmingham Recycled have devised a list of ways you can contribute to the action plan:

Myself and Jess from the Birmingham Recycled team visited the ‘Home Grown Health Exhibition‘ today to see what exactly was on offer and see how we could become ‘home growers’ … of sorts!

Although there wasn’t a huge turnout, we both found it really interesting to go around the stalls that were there to see what kind of ideas people had for ‘home growing’, healthily.

The School of Everything‘ was a particularly great idea, that was manned by volunteer ‘Audrey’, who was very enthusiastic about teaching people how to grow plants while recycling at the same time. She had some great ideas and had a lot of her home-grown specimens on show.

Pat Hill was doing some rather interesting ‘aroma-auro readings’ with little perfume bottles that was deemed so interesting we sat chatting to her for over an hour!…

Moving on, we had a chat with the lads at Northfield Eco Centre, as they told us all about the huge array of extracurricular activities that you can get yourself involved with, including: knitting, campaigns, gardening and much more…

Birmingham Friends Of The Earth were also about, although we never got to talk to them! :-/

I have made a short video of the day’s festivities in light of the more ‘interactive’ module we are now all pursuing on the online journalism course, so here goes …

The investigations team at Birmingham Recycled are on the hunt for experts from Birmingham City Council, MPs, members of Birmingham Friends Of The Earth, and other ‘green’ organisations, as well as other officials to take part in our weekly podcast debates…is this YOU??

Every week we will be discussing a ‘hot topic’ from in and around Birmingham that’s got us all hot under the collar, and we would like some ‘expert spin’ on each podcast.

If you would like to come along to one of our recordings, please contact any of the following: