Things are really getting under way for 2012 now. My time filling in as Campaigns Support Worker while Joe is on a placement has been busy and fun, with two major campaigns (the Bee Cause and Clean British Energy) being launched, the local elections and this newsletter to produce.
The local elections saw Birmingham voting “no” to an elected mayor and yes to Labour being back in control of the council. We are looking forward to seeing how things move forward the new Cabinet Member James McKay dedicated to making Birmingham a ‘Green, Safe & Smart’ city. We will be meeting with Cllr McKay and leader Sir Albert Bore soon to discuss how we can work together on this – a fantastic opportunity to get a solid green agenda implemented in Birmingham. See the article by Roxanne Green for more on the elections.
Energy and Climate Change
After the success of Final Demand, the next phase of our exciting energy campaign – Clean British Energy – has been launched. While Final Demand focused on the problems with the UK energy market, Clean British Energy looks to the solutions. We’ll be encouraging people and local organisations to switch to renewable energy suppliers and take further action to earn themselves a ‘CBE’, as well as lobbying MPs to influence the Electricity Market Reform bill later in the year. We’re excited about having a volunteer, Robin Jones, dedicated to working on this campaign for a whole month. See the article by Rob Pass for further details.
With the weather warming up (well it will soon, hopefully!) Close the Door has been put on hold until the winter, a more intuitive time for the campaign.
The Bee Cause has finally landed and we have lots of events planned over the summer to get Birmingham buzzing about bees: a petition-signing stunt in town dressed as bees (with a rugby team!), a workshop at the MAC, a family day at Martineau Gardens, stalls at Cannon Hill Spring Fair and Jubilee Party, a bee walk and a Free Love Buzz fundraiser in association with the Free Love Club. Phew! We could really do with some help on all this – get in touch if you can spare a few hours.
A bit of a quiet time on planning after the recent frenzy of consultations, thankfully! Hopefully we can make progress on producing our new community planning guide over the next few months. This will include guidance on the new NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) too.
Waste and resource use
The City Council’s waste strategy review has adopted a number of very important principles which we welcome, such as aiming for low carbon, and a 60% recycling and composting target (compared with most waste currently being burned). We learned that this is the last major urban area to have its rubbish piled in bags in the streets. The new Labour administration looks likely to have another look at how our rubbish is collected and what happens to it. We hope to meet with them this month to press for a less wasteful system that recovers a lot more value and is kinder to the atmosphere.
Having sent out our briefing on transport to councillors earlier in the year, we are looking forward to speaking to the new cabinet member for transport about our ideas to see where progress can be made towards transforming Birmingham’s transport system.