Section: West England

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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. […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]

Setting up Cirencester’s Repair Café

Bob Irving

We have a deeply throwaway society in the UK. It seems that the majority of us would far rather buy something new than attempt to fix something broken. Moreover, we’re encouraged in this by manufacturers, marketers and designers. Electronics are glued or soldered together, rather than screwed. Spare parts are difficult, if not impossible, to […]

The Value of Teachers (and Parents)

Guy Maughfling

“They f*** you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do. They fill you with the faults they had And add some extra, just for you.” Philip Larkin: “High Windows” Having teenage children can be a painful experience. They are breaking away from the family, discovering new interests, using technology […]

Cheltenham marks ‘Clean Air Day’

Will Luker

If you didn’t know already, the 17 June 2021 is ’Clean Air Day’ with events held across the UK to highlight why the planet needs clean up its act. Cleaning up our air is the obvious reason why this day is very important but it is much more than just talking about why clean air […]


Bristol – A Year on from Colston

Julian Greenbank

A Black Lives Matter vigil was held to mark the death of George Floyd and to protest against institutional racism in our own country. Thousands of people attended, but this isn’t why the city was in the news. A statue of Edward Colston, an eighteenth century MP and slave trader, which had stood watch over […]

Distinguished Opponents of A303 Stonehenge Tunnel to speak at Webinar

A reader writes...

Dear Editor, On 23 June, a legal challenge against the Government’s plans for the Stonehenge Tunnel will come to court. It is the last chance to stop massive and irreparable damage being done to the archaeology and landscape of Britain’s most iconic World Heritage Site.  To say that the status of Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage […]


Councillor Candidate on Oxfordshire’s “Fair Deal Alliance”

Julian Greenbank

The results of the 2021 elections were more interesting than people initially thought. While Conservative gains in the Hartlepool by-election and council elections were predicted by many, there were a few shock results. Dan Norris being elected mayor of the West of England Combined Authority (Bristol, South Gloucestershire, and Bath and North East Somerset) was […]

How do I feel after a Year of Lockdowns?

Bob Copeland

Angry, frustrated and now just despair! For decades successive Governments have recognised that a global pandemic was the biggest threat to our national security. Yet when faced with one, the government of the day was found wanting. Local Public Health Services had been critically weakened, and the National Health Service run down and demoralised. At […]

A Reader writes about his Stroud MP

The Editor

Dear Editor, I was very struck by the factual inaccuracies, false claims and exceptionally naïve assertions made by Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie in her House of Commons speech this week. According to her, “if the Opposition had been correct about Brexit, the sky would have fallen in by now and dementors sporting EU flags would […]

The Day the Music Died?

Jane Riekemann

Write to us at When Big Ben rang in the New Year at midnight on 31 December 2020 it sounded the death knell of the transition period, the end of the UK’s membership of the Single Market and the start of the hard Brexit most were dreading. The first few months of 2021 have been […]


Businesses in Gloucester Road, Bristol tell us how they survived

Julian Greenbank

>>> With Video <<< Write to us at With over a year since the pandemic struck, how have independent businesses managed to weather the lockdowns and other restrictions? We took our cameras down the iconic Gloucester Road in Bristol and asked some business owners how it was for them. We got quite differing responses; two […]

Space to Breathe

Will Luker

Write to us at Political thinking in the UK is divided. Talk about current affairs, often enough leads to polarised thought. On all sides of the political divide and however we all vote is something that now seems to damage friendly debate. The political temperature especially during a pandemic and after a divisive referendum, is […]

Youth Ambassadors

A reader writes...

Dear Editor, On a relatively unremarkable, dreary lockdown Tuesday in mid-January, over 100 people in Cheltenham joined virtual workshops organised by Cheltenham Borough Council and local charity “Vision 21” to talk about climate change, emissions reduction and solutions. The resulting formation of the CheltenhamZero partnership aims to provide a collaborative group to support the council’s […]

Rural Communities cut off by Cuts!

George Richmond

Rural communities are a small proportion of our society, with only 17% of people living in rural areas in the UK, including myself. However isolation and loneliness are real issues for many in these communities. The pandemic has highlighted this isolation further and our post-Covid recovery offers a clear opportunity to tackle these issues. The […]

The “Colston Four” could become the “Mangrove Nine” of Bristol

Melissa Chemam

This Monday, 25 January 2021, four Bristolians went to court. Their crime: Tearing down the statue of the celebrated benefactor of the city from the 1700s, Edward Colston, merchant and slave trader. The event occurred in Bristol city centre during the most prominent Black Lives Matter (BLM) protest, on 7 June 2020. A demonstration that […]