Pen and paper…

Thoughts, ideas, questions, experiences

Flight emissions calculations: Google Docs June 2, 2010

Filed under: Birmingham Recycled — Kellie Maddox @ 7:23 pm
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Finally finished the spreadsheet which shows a sample day’s departures from Birmingham Airport and each flight’s average carbon emissions (calculated on which works on an assumption of a 65% load factor with 139 seats per flight). Obviously this is a rough estimate but from this, my initial calculation of the total emissions saved at Birmingham Airport during the ‘original’ UK air space ban is as follows:

Average daily carbon emissions = 27.94 tonnes

Number of days planes grounded (originally) = 6

Average total emissions saved = 27.94 x 6 = 167.64 tonnes

Hurray! : )


All things bees and eco-teams… May 31, 2010

Filed under: Birmingham Recycled,News — Kellie Maddox @ 11:36 am
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Let’s not dwell on my absence the last few weeks (all in the name of work I assure you). A few interesting things to report from the last few weeks – some enviro, some not. But for these purposes, let’s talk ‘green’…..

Last week I took a trip to Birmingham Chamber of Commerce  – the intention wasn’t wholly to discuss new ‘green’ developments but something quite exciting did crop up. I won’t reveal too much as a Birmingham Recycled article will be posted soon to tell you more, however the general gist of the Chamber’s latest venture involves a newly-devised environmental team/project which is aimed at encouraging Midlands’ businesses to operate in more enviro-friendly ways e.g. energy saving, reducing waste and improving efficiency.

So you’ll be hearing more about the project in the coming months from the Chamber, but also from moi, as I’m going to be working as an intern on the project to get the site going ( along with the team and Jon Hickman) and filling it will lots of informative (and hopefully exciting) content.

Next……following lots of media interest the last couple of weeks about the plight of our beloved bee population, I thought it was something worth looking into. The Guardian reported that honeybee numbers were still in decline after the harsh winter this year. Referring to the results of a survey published by the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA), the figures show a wide regional variation, with northern parts of the UK suffering greater losses than the south.

I decided to try to find out the picture in the Midlands so contacted several groups to find out how the bee population has fared in the local area. Although not so great for me, many groups weren’t able to accommodate me because they were so busy with huge numbers of people learning the ropes of beekeeping – a great sign that more people are interested in the conservation of these insects.

South Staffordshire Beekeepers’ Association were kind enough to invite me along to one of their meetings, held at their apiary at Shugborough Hall. I was pleasantly surprised to find a gathering of 20-25 ‘beginner beekeepers’ along with several experienced committee members who look after the apiary and run the course.  

After the informative session, which was all about ‘swarms’, I managed to grab a few minutes with apiary manager Neil Leadbetter and the knowledgable membership secretary Phil Healy. I filmed my brief interview with them, asking about the local picture in terms of bee numbers, why there is a decline, what can be done and how many people are taking up the hobby. I’m hoping – if me and Sian manage to hone our video editing skills – to have the video up on Birmingham Recycled tomorrow so you’ll have to have a look.

Finally, my most time-consuming and least-progressed project is the mapping I’ve been attempting, but let’s not talk about that. It may or may not materialise depending on my inclination to process another hundred or so calculations before the week is out. A miracle needed please…..


Birmingham Airport flight emissions – calculations for #ashtag May 11, 2010

Filed under: Birmingham Recycled — Kellie Maddox @ 1:05 pm
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Finally got some figures to work with in my quest to map the emissions saved by flights being grounded at Birmingham Airport during the ash cloud (first-time round).

Again, Justine Hunt at the airport’s been really helpful and I’m going to visit the environment team on Friday…so hopefully more interesting stuff on the way for BRInvestigates…

Anyway…the rough figures so far (this whole project is very much a close ‘approximation’)…

  • The average number of flights in and out of Birmingham = 300 daily (over the six days, this is approx. 1800 flights cancelled)
  • Approximately 203 departures per day (sample from today, Wed 12th May)
  • Disregarding the type of aircraft, short and long-haul flights can be calculated using – which calculates the carbon emissions of each flight based on an assumption of a 65% load factor with 139 seats

As Justine pointed out, the only way to work out an average day’s flight emissions would be to take a sample from the departures board on the website (which would show short, long-haul and domestic flights) and calculate the approximate carbon output for each flight. I’ve started an Excel spreadsheet to organise and calculate this data and will attach it once completed.

Once I’ve finished the laborious task of using the calculator to estimate the total emissions from the day’s sample departures, this can then be multiplied by the six days (in which flights were grounded) to give an approximate idea of the total carbon emissions saved by flights being grounded at Birmingham Airport during the ‘first’ ash cloud incident.

 Then finally……….I will attempt to map the data. Getting there slowly….


Dipity experiments: Birmingham City of Culture 2013 bid

Filed under: Online journalism — Kellie Maddox @ 11:24 am
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Been having a play with Dipity, as I’ve not used it before and wanted to see what it could do and how I could use it in my Online Journalism work.

I’ve tracked Birmingham’s bid to become the first UK City of Culture – adding events and developments from various sources including Birmingham Newsroom and Birmingham Big City Culture.

Until I can find a way to embed it properly – you can see the timeline on Dipity…..

Feel free to suggest other events I’ve missed or that would add to the piece : )


Response from Birmingham City Council re: bee-keeping March 31, 2010

Filed under: Birmingham Recycled — Kellie Maddox @ 6:40 pm
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Adrian Stagg  – Allotments Finance & Records Officer at Birmingham City Council – responded to my query regarding changes to council’s bee-keeping on allotments policy:

We intend to change the Allotment Rules to accommodate bee keeping but are waiting for approval to the new terms. In the meantime we allow bees subject to the following conditions :

the siting of hives must be agreed with the Association and the Allotment Liaison Officer in advance

anyone keeping bees must have Public Liability insurance and must be a member of the British Beekeepers Association or affiliated society.

I’ve asked him to let me know when the new terms are approved – not sure on the time-scale for this so might run an initial story to talk about changes ‘in the pipeline’.

He also gave me details for Allotment Liaison Officer, Mohammed Riaz – who apparently knows more about specific arrangements for hives so I will be approaching him for further clarification in the next few days.


Actually, bees are allowed in Brum (I think…) March 28, 2010

Filed under: Birmingham Recycled — Kellie Maddox @ 3:17 pm
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It seems that things are already changing on the bee-keeping in Brum front. Having posted yesterday about the comments I got from Lisa Nelder – who’s from Walkers Heath Allotments – I’ve found out some more info courtesy of Dave Harte.

He kindly forwarded a copy of Birmingham City Council Allotment Rules, which clearly state:

These rules are made under Section 28 of the Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908 and apply to all Allotments including any let before these rules came into force. They come into force on the date they are sealed.

7.4           Beehives are not allowed on the Allotment.

He also commented on my previous post:

You can have bee hotels on your allotment. There’s a few on ours. We need bees to pollinate stuff like pumpkins which is why you often see flowers planted on allotment plots. It’s beehives you can’t have which are a different order of things altogether.

So, the first question appears to have been answered but it’s still not that clear if and where you can keep bees. Then I received another email from Lisa saying:

Further to my email, I thought you might like to know that having attended the BDAC AGM today, the subject of bee keeping came up and the subsequent council rule. It now appears that the council have backtracked on this particular rule and bees will once again be allowed on site, with certain restrictions in place. Mainly, the beekeeper will have to be a member of the beekeepers association, who will in turn, ensure the bees are looked after properly, sited correctly on the allotment and appropriate insurance is taken out.

For more clarification may I suggest you speak with Adrian Stagg of Birmingham Council’s Allotments Section.

A U-turn decision by the council? Or something that wasn’t that clear in the first place – bee hotels = yes vs bee hives = no/allotments = no vs gardens = yes?

Anyway, whatever the decision/change of heart/clarity of the issue – I’m hoping to speak to Adrian Stagg sometime this week to see exactly what’s going on and what the situation with bee-keeping is now.

More posts to follow…


Bee-keeping and Birmingham allotments don’t mix apparently March 27, 2010

Filed under: Birmingham Recycled — Kellie Maddox @ 4:13 pm
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As you might know, I’ve left the world of recycling behind (for the mo anyway) and am looking at the environment with a wider lense as part of the Birmingham Recycled investigative team.

So what am I looking into first? Well Jade and I will be concentrating on bee conservation in the Midlands, following on from several Birmingham Recycled articles on this issue. We also received a tweet from @superGM:

@BhamRecycled Not allowed to keep bees on our allotment though. Grumble, grumble, BCC grumble.

So we’re looking at whether Birmingham City Council do prevent bees being kept in Birmingham, if so why and what impact this will have on projects like the OPAL project.

Anyway, I’ve started scouting a few allotment websites in Birmingham to see if there’s any info about bee conservation. I found the Birmingham and District Allotments Council and sent a message via their website:

I’m looking into bee conservation and the project on ‘bee hotels’ that Dr Adam Bates has been involved with. I was recently informed by someone that Birmingham City Council will not allow bees to be kept on allotments in Birmingham and wondered whether this is true or not?

I am looking to approach the council anyway, but thought you’d be the best place to start. Please do contact me if you have any information on allotment policies and if bee-keeping is in fact allowed.

To which, Lisa Nelder of Walkers Heath Allotments emailed me:

Unfortunately, according to Birmingham Council rules, beehives are not allowed on allotment sites. I think the health and safety and PL risks are too high for the council to allow them on sites. If we can be of more help, please contact me.

Incidentally, Dr Adam Bates will be sending me some files so that I can upload more information on his project on our website. As a site secretary myself, I totally support his project, even allowing a hotel on my own plot.

So it seems that Birmingham City Council definitely don’t allow bee hives on their allotment plots so I’ll be contacting them to find out why (although my thoughts are that it’s a health and safety issue). Having already checked the website, there’s no mention of it, just several policies that talk about sustainability/biodiversity, nature conservation and development and people and nature.

I’m interested to know their reasons for this decision and how they propose to support nature conservation in Birmingham if they don’t support important projects like the OPAL Open Air Laboratories bee hotels and allow allotments holders to do so.