Section: West England

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Bristol seeks to Decarbonise its Buses

Julian Greenbank
Bristol Buses - Source: Julian Greenbank

I’ve made so many videos about Bristol’s quest to be environmentally friendly, I might as well make it its own mini-series. This time round, the City has been given a Grant of £500,000 from the Department of Transport to study how best to decarbonise its public transport system. A trial will be conducted in three […]

WITH VIDEO

Round and Round

Richard Wain

When faced with all that motion
It’s not just hypothetical
Its cold and solid fact

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A People’s Gallery

Julian Greenbank
Westbury People's Gallery - Source: Malcolm Atkins

During Lockdown we all started finding new hobbies to fill in the time. But I doubt if any of us ever turned our own front garden into an art gallery, open to all. Well, that’s exactly what Malcolm Atkins has done in suburban Oxford. Malcolm’s Westbury People’s Gallery accepts any type of submission, from traditional […]

WITH VIDEO

Ukrainian Refugee Crisis: What Is West England doing?

Julian Greenbank

Watching the Ukrainian refugee crisis unfold, I was reminded of Mr Rogers of American children’s television fame who said: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping’”. The War in Ukraine […]

American Crayfish invade UK Rivers

Nick Robinson
American Signal Crayfish female - Pacifastacus leniusculus - Source: Astacoides on Wikipedia

There are many invasive species in the UK. Grey squirrels, several species of deer and mink are just some, but one of the most damaging lurks beneath the surface of many of our rivers, streams, lakes and ponds – the American signal crayfish. Introduced in the 1970s in the hope of exporting farmed animals to […]

Are Diesel Buses just Greenwashing?

Maya Wilson-Autzen
Stagecoach Gold - 94 at Gloucester Bus Station - Elliot Brown - CC BY-SA 4.0

Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) and Stagecoach West could be seen to be putting profit above planet in last year’s introduction of new diesel buses. The buses had a minor environmental upgrade – now using Euro 6 engines. This means a double decker bus, which can carry over 70 people, will give off fewer emissions than […]

Oxford residents rally for ‘Doughnut Economics’

Kerry Ann Christelow

Doughnut Economics is the brainchild of Kate Raworth which builds on a radical rethinking of economics after the Financial Crash of 2008.  Her book, Doughnut Economics – Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist (2018, Penguin / Random House Business), is enlightening, readable and makes a whole lot of sense even to those […]

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Bristol Airport Expansion gets Government Approval

Julian Greenbank
Bristol Airport Expansion ; Source: Bristol Airport Expansion Public Enquiry

On the 3 February 2022, plans for a multi-million pound expansion of one of the area’s biggest airports got approval from the Department of Transport after Bristol Airport appealed against the local council’s refusal. These plans look to increase the number of flights (in-bound by 97,000 a year and outgoing by 23,800), as well as […]

Credit Unions – A Safer Way to Borrow

Barbara Morrison
Gloucestershire Credit Union Logo - with permission

Stagnant wage rises, ‘zero hours’ contracts, an uncertain economy and the coming cost of living crisis as energy prices rocket – there are lots of reasons why people’s incomes have been feeling more and more squeezed during the past decade. Making ends meet each month can sometimes seem hard. An unexpected repair, a new pair […]

Can Art be for All? A Suburban Gallery believes it can.

Malcolm Atkins
A Multi-Panel depiction of "The Altar of Earthly Immolation" by Alex Singleton -at Westbury Gallery Oxford

“If it is art, it is not for all, and if it is for all, it is not art.” Arnold Schoenberg “Only art is capable of dismantling the repressive effects of a senile social system that continues to totter along the deathline: to dismantle in order to build A SOCIAL ORGANISM AS A WORK OF […]

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Two District Councils record Zero Rough Sleepers

Julian Greenbank

On the 31 December 2021, the Districts Councils of the Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire both recorded zero ‘rough sleepers‘ (people sleeping on the streets) for the first time since 2013. This achievement comes after the Liberal Democrats won control of both councils. In South Oxfordshire they formed a coalition with the Greens. […]

Reply from Tewkesbury MP on Partygate

The Editor

Dear Editor, I wrote to my MP Laurence Robertson, the Conservative MP for Tewkesbury, expressing my anger about the claims of parties in Downing Street. This is the reply below. I don’t mind that it is a standard reply because at least he has written it and it is not a ‘cut and paste’ from […]

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Colston Four acquitted by Jury

Julian Greenbank

On 5 January 2022, at the Bristol Crown Court, the Colston Four were found innocent of any criminal damage. They were on trial for toppling the statue (as reported in July 2020 by West England Bylines) of Edward Colston, a slave-selling merchant who gave a significant amount of money to the City in his will. […]

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Councils clash over Bath’s Clean Air Zone

Julian Greenbank

Last month, I wrote about Bristol finally agreeing to a Clean Air Zone in their city centre. Also back in June Will Luker marked Cheltenham’s Clean Air Day.  However, they’re not the only West England cities making changes to their fight against pollution. Bath, which implemented its Clean Air Zone in March 2021, has seen […]

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Should Bristol keep its Mayor?

Julian Greenbank

Politics in Bristol is shaping up to have an interesting year. Will the Bristol Mayor survive? Last Tuesday, the Council voted on a motion for a new referendum about the abolition on the role of Mayor of Bristol. It passed with 41 votes in favour to 24 against. The role was first created in 2012 […]

European Movement’s Day of Action

A reader writes...

On Saturday, as part of the European Movement’s Day of Action, members of Oxford for Europe gathered once again on Cornmarket to gauge the opinions of local people, on how they felt that Brexit was going. We asked people the following questions: Is Brexit good for the NHS? Is Brexit keeping up food supply and […]

Bristol City Council approves its Clean Air Zone

Julian Greenbank

It’s been a long time coming but it finally happened. On Friday November 6, the Bristol City Council voted to approve a Bristol Clean Air Zone, set to launch June 2022. The area designated by the council will cover the Floating Harbour, Castle Park, Temple Quay, and most of the City Centre. Bristol Clean Air […]

Does The Cotswolds need “Levelling Up”? Yes it does!

Paul Hodgkinson

The Cotswolds is a beautiful place to live, and having made it my home for 32 years, I feel proud to represent some of the area’s iconic places like Bourton on the Water. Yet it isn’t simply a museum for tourists, it’s a thriving district with a strong rural economy and history. But what makes […]

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Beechen Cliff School organises a TEDx Event

Toby Hawkins

On Thursday 14 October, Beechen Cliff School in Bath hosted an entirely student run, student led TEDx event. The event was inspired by the more widely known Ted Talks, where guest speakers perform and share their knowledge, skills or experiences with the community. All TEDx events are fully licenced, planned and coordinated independently on an […]

Covid Testing Fails in the South West

Andrew Milroy

Ed: 24 October: Updated with latest stats from UK Health Security Agency. Ed: Please send copies of this letter to your MP and local newspaper so that we get a proper investigation. Dear Sir, Serious doubts are growing about the government policy of out-sourcing Covid testing contracts to private companies. One such company is Immensa, […]

Cotswolds Ecosystem in Danger – Part 2 – River Pollution

George Richmond

“There’s water, water of life”. Those words were part of a hymn I had to sing at my small C of E primary school in the heart of the Cotswolds as a child. While little water runs through the village of Chedworth where my school lay, the Cotswolds has certainly been blessed with at least […]

TEDx Event at Beechen Cliff School, Bath

The Editor

Ed: West England Bylines writer Toby Hawkins, and his fellow students are hosting a TEDx event at their school, Beechen Cliff, on 14 October. We publish their press release here and encourage readers to support this event. A TEDx event is a local gathering where live TED-like talks and performances are shared with the community. […]

Musical Notes

Martin Griffiths

Ed: This poem from Martin is part of a collection of poems and illustrations which his wife, Pamela Richmond, has bound as her exhibition entry for ‘A Gathering of Leaves‘, the Designer Bookbinders International Competition, to be held at the Bodleian Library next year. We also show a picture of Pamela’s unique, leather bound Fine […]

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Is Bristol Going Green Fast Enough?

Julian Greenbank

Bristol has promised to be green but will its actions back up the words? Can the many Green councillors in Bristol make Bristol really green? Watch Tom Hathway explain his hopes and fears around Bristol’s response.

Success for Stonehenge Campaigners

The Editor

Ed: The “Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site Ltd” issued the following press release on 30 July 2021. West England Bylines have supported the campaign with articles like this in June. SAVE STONEHENGE WORLD HERITAGE SITE LTD[1] High Court Judgement AGAINST A303 Stonehenge scheme! Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site is delighted the High Court has today […]

Cirencester Repair Café reduces Carbon Emissions

Bob Irving

Ed: If you read our article about how Cirencester’s Repair Café was set up, you’ll want to know how they got on. If not, you can read about the set up here. After months of preparation, Cirencester Repair Café opened on 27 November 2017 at The Bothy with a good range of repairers and of […]