Every time I write the campaigns digest, I am sure that the period I am writing about is busier than the previous two months but I am now of the opinion that we are permanently very active. Recently, we have been active with the Big Ask climate change campaign, the local rail campaign and the promotion of local shops given the threat of ASDA arriving in Selly Oak and at Barnes Hill near to Weoley Castle and Bartley Green.
Just as the last newsletter went to print, we won the latest stage of our campaign to protect Billesley Lane Allotments: at the City Council Planning Committee, Moseley Golf Club’s bid to turn former allotments into a practice area was turned down as a result of planning policy that our campaigner, Andy Pryke, got adopted in 2005. It shows that working through planning documents with a fine toothcomb, even if they are several hundred pages long, does pay off eventually.
As part of the Big Ask climate change campaign, I visited Andrew Mitchell MP along with Jo Dixon from Plantsbrook School. Mr Mitchell joined the growing list of MPs who are supporting a stronger climate change bill. Lynne Jones, Richard Burden, Clare Short, Roger Godsiff, John Hemming and Lorely Burt are the other MPs we currently know of (at the time of going to print) who are backing a stronger bill in some way or another… we hope to recruit more to this list as time goes on. At the Botanical Gardens, Harborne Farmers’ Market, the ASH gig at the Carling Academy and on Northfield High Street, we collected hundreds more climate change petition postcards, which have been forwarded to MPs.
Roger Godsiff MP spoke at a speaker event at Moseley School. Working with Oxfam, Islamic Relief, Practical Action and Birmingham TUC to organise this was a delight. Partnership working can really pay off… team synergy is magical!
Maud Grainger, working on the Multi-Faith project, held an incredibly successful women-only organic iftar in Small Heath during Ramadan, which led to lots more interest in the already popular Faith and Climate Change Ambassadors project.
Elsewhere, Sarah Wiley visited a school in Brownhills to give a talk on recycling; several campaigners went to the Road Block conference at BVSC in Digbeth; we spoke to Sutton Coldfield Pensioners’ Convention about climate change; our planning campaign team grew stronger with the addition of a planning expert; and Gareth Burt re-launched the Birmingham Environmental Education Project (BEEP), delivering a talk on climate change from a new angle – good for anyone who likes dry humour!
Finally, I am pleased to report that media coverage has been on the rise lately. While we have rarely had difficulties in attracting media attention, by being a little more savvy recently we have had a respectable rise in coverage. Media is more integral in campaign planning, we have been chasing coverage more often and we have been targeting press outlets more carefully. We have also seen media coverage in print media that we have not traditionally targeted, including The Muslim Weekly, The Friend (Quaker publication), The Zone (Midlands gay magazine), Birmingham Forward and The Mature Times. Issues covered include the Big Ask campaign, the local rail campaign, the ‘pay as you throw’ waste proposals, Birmingham’s first car sharing lane, Birmingham Airport’s expansion plans and noise issues in the Eastside and Hurst Street areas.
One might expect Christmas to be quieter on the campaigns front but I wonder if our current rollercoaster of campaigns will have a moment to notice the festive season?