Working to protect and enhance the Lickey Hills and their environs
In the spring, the Society’s committee was concerned by the apparent lack of action by Birmingham City Council (BCC) following the fire on Rednal Hill in July 2022. Secretary, Baden Carson composed a letter
setting out our concerns and this was sent to officers at BCC, local councillors and to the media. We are
pleased to say that the letter was well received and we believe that it has had a significant impact. Local
councillors from both Birmingham and Bromsgrove responded positively and it was picked up by the media.
Articles featured prominently in the Bromsgrove Advertiser, the Bromsgrove Standard and Birmingham Live. It was also included for a couple of days on the Hereford and Worcester section on the main BBC news webpage. Committee members were interviewed on BBC Radio WM and BBC Radio Hereford and Worcester.
In August, BCC approved and signed off a number of documents relating to fire management in outdoor spaces
including wildfire protocols. These documents refer to all Birmingham parks and open spaces. In addition, there was a very detailed document relating specifically to Rednal Hill with 14 pages of text and 13 maps. These documents should prove beneficial in preparing and tackling any future major wildfires across the city.
It is with great sadness that Ranger Dave Beardsmore is leaving the Ranger Team towards the end of this month. Dave has been based at the Lickeys for the last twelve years. In recent times, he has lived near Bridgnorth and so has had a very long commute each day. He has managed to secure a new position in Shropshire which will be more accessible.
As with all of the Rangers, Dave has been a great supporter of the Society. His ready smile, energy and
enthusiasm are quite infectious. He is a very practical guy and this was demonstrated on the occasion ofthe fire on Rednal Hill. Dave worked late into the night supporting members of the Fire and Rescue
Services. The photo showing Dave damping down after the fire is very typical of him.
He has always played a leading role in the annual Bilberry Wake and Wassails. Dave as the ‘Old Oss’ has
been a leading character in the mummers plays.
It only remains to thank Dave and to wish him well in his new role and we hope to see him back on the Lickeys in the future.
Late evening on Tuesday 4th April, one of the picnic benches provided by the Society at the Visitor Centre was destroyed by fire. Despite signs warning people against using disposable BBQ’s in the Country Park, four were lit on the table. When the Rangers arrived the following morning, they found a pile of ash, four metal grills and badly damaged tarmac which was still hot. The Rangers were distressed by what greeted them and they were left to clear up the mess.
The massive fire on Rednal Hill last summer was investigated by West Mercia Fire and Rescue Service and they concluded that the fire was started by a disposable BBQ. There are many fires in the Country Park each year with many being caused by these barbeques. When will people learn?
Following the bench fire, the Society was contacted by a reporter from Free Radio and Society Secretary, Baden Carlson was interviewed. Baden spoke about the picnic bench fire and the fire on Rednal Hill and suggested that action was needed to educate users of portable BBQ’s which cause so many problems nationwide. If this failed, would a national ban be needed? The possibility of installing CCTV was also discussed. Baden was told that the interview would be broadcast on BBC Radio Shropshire but it is hoped that it will be shared with other BBC local radio stations.
On Saturday 8 April, Councillor Majid Mahmood, Birmingham’s Cabinet Member for the Environment was interviewed on BBC Midlands Today. Councillor Mahmood said he would write to Chris Philp MP, Minister for Police, Crime and Fire calling for an immediate ban on the sale of disposable barbecues, and seeking fixed penalties and large fines for people caught using disposable barbecues in our parks and open spaces. This would certainly be a step in the right direction and would be supported by the Society.
Photo: Baden Carlson
© 2015 The Lickey Hills Society