On the first Monday of every month BFOE holds a general meeting. In the general meeting we discuss all our campaigns. This blogpost will hopefully give you an idea of what being a campaigner is like. What we discuss and how we go about achieving our aims. I have changed the discussions from the real-life meeting in order to make them more understandable to those not involved and to protect anonymity. I’ve simplified discussions so that everyone reading this can follow what was discussed. I’ve also highlighted some actions that you could do.
Birmingham Friends of the Earth General Campaigns Meeting Agenda
Monday 3 August 2020
— Introduction —
- Welcome [Chair]
Introductions & Icebreaker
What we did at the weekend
14 Attendees via Zoom
— Campaigns —
Campaigns Support Worker feedback [Libby]
Libby told us what she has been up to over the past week
2.Air Pollution & Transport (A breath of fresh air)
BFOE works on air pollution. Birmingham has high levels of air pollutants like No2 that cause approximately 900 premature deaths a year in the city.
BFOE sent out a Press release about a National FOE study on air pollution. There is an air pollution map, National Friends of the Earth did some work on air pollution. Lots of places in breach of No2 levels. There is a top ten list for illegal breaches. All the Birmingham spots are in the city centre.
BFOE supports modal shift away from cars. We support increasing levels of walking, cycling and public transport use across Birmingham. Birmingham City Council is currently looking for feedback on schemes to support active travel and social distancing. Including in Moseley, Lozells and Northfield. Shaz has written about the Northfield “cycle lanes” . BFOE is generally supportive of these measures. Campaigners are encouraged to respond to the online feedback website.
- Climate Change
Earlier this year BFOE held public engagement events to try to see what people would like to see in a net zero Birmingham and how we try to get there. BFOE will write a report based on the events that we held earlier on this year. We try to influence the council on their climate emergency plans.
Birmingham City Council have declared a Climate Emergency. They have a Route 2 Zero task force to try reduce the city’s carbon emissions. BFOE have been campaigning to try to get the council to be ambitious in its aims. The Route 2 Zero Taskforce meets and we continue to try to lobby the council to be ambitious. We encourage campaigners to contact their local councilors and MP’s to put pressure on the Task Force to put in place serious measures to tackle the Climate Emergency
- 4. Nature (More Trees Please!)
BFOE’s nature campaign currently focusses on protecting our current tree population and trying to expand the numbers of trees in Birmingham. Different parts of the city have varying numbers of tree cover. The South is well served for trees whilst the north has very low levels of tree cover. This reflects the inequality within the city.
English Tree strategy slightly increase tree cover from 10% to 12 %. Do we think that this is enough? A few people will put together a response. Libby sent an email regarding a National FOE report on the wealthy and tree ownership. The Woodland trust have a report about why increasing tree cover is important.
- Green Recovery
We looked at what we want to do as we move post covid 19. Our climate change campaign and green recovery campaign have been merged. BFOE believes that the government must fund a green recovery. There is a coalition of organisations calling on the government to support a green recovery in a campaign called “Build Back Better”, which campaigners are encouraged to support.
6. Planning A radical shake up of the planning system is being planned by central government. Look to make it easier for builders to build new homes. Some things have gone through already like adding two storeys to their property without planning permission. Three new categories of land. Land assigned for growth. Housing can automatically go up in this land. Second category. Renewal areas will allow quick development. Third category. Land as designated as protected land, it can’t be built on. Removing accountability in the planning system.
BFOE believe that we should object. By weakening regulations in the planning system, builders will be freer to build poor quality and environmentally damaging buildings that are cheaper to build. To learn more read here
- (Waste Isn’t Rubbish)
Birmingham has an incinerator where a lot of Birmingham’s waste is disposed of. We are against this, because the incinerator is arguably Birmingham’s largest emitter of Co2. It also depresses our recycling rates as waste goes to the incinerator first. BFOE want the council to start a food waste collection. The council is currently tendering for a new contractor for the incinerator until 2034. BFOE are campaigning against continuing the incinerator. Here is a petition by Birmingham Youth 4 Climate Strike to sign. https://www.change.org/p/birmingham-city-council-say-no-to-tyseley-incinerator
Idea to sell a few items in the run up to Christmas like hats. Be good if anybody knows anybody who is good at making things.
— Other Business —
- Management Committee Update [Shaz]
Members meeting went well. Looking at ways at generating income long term.
- Digbeth Community Garden
The Garden is now available to hire. A lot of work has been put into it so it can be a suitable outdoor meeting space.
If you are interested in hiring the garden or know anybody that does email firstname.lastname@example.org
Next Campaign Meetings:
10th August – Action Meeting
17th August – Action Meeting
24th August – Action Meeting
If you are interested in what Birmingham Friends of the Earth does, then check out our website. If you are interested in volunteering or coming to a Monday Night (Zoom) meeting, then please contact our Campaign Support Worker Libby at email@example.com