Will Birmingham tax diesel cars to cut down pollution?

  • 2 February 2017
  • From the section England
Diesel exhaust Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Working out how many die from air pollution is not easy

Birmingham has an air pollution problem and people are blaming diesel engines. The council say it's diesel powered vehicles that cause the city to regularly break air pollution limits and it's all having a huge effect on the health of the people who live there.

Assessing those health problems is fairly complex however.

The headline figure is that there are 891 deaths from air pollution in Birmingham every year.

Twice as many people die from smoking but nevertheless that's still a big number of people dying for what is, in theory, totally preventable reasons.

As ever with headlines, though, the actual story is a bit more complex than that. Let's stay with the world of transport to illustrate the point.

Read full article Will Birmingham tax diesel cars to cut down pollution?

Top tips for making the most of big garden birdwatch

  • 27 January 2017
  • From the section England
Blue tit
Image caption Blue tits are the second most common birds in the West Midlands, according to an RSPB survey

The RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch has established itself as one of our most successful citizen science experiments.

A great way to learn more about nature and enjoy the birds in your garden while providing plenty of information on how our wildlife is doing.

Read full article Top tips for making the most of big garden birdwatch

Stay still or search? Finding a lost friend in a crowd

Nathan Cunningham
Image caption Nathan Cunningham started work on the problem after attending music festivals with his friends

This is the season to lose friends in a crowd.

Be it the Boxing Day sales or a new year's party then the chances are you'll turn your back for a second and people just wander off.

Read full article Stay still or search? Finding a lost friend in a crowd

A jolt for the electric car industry in the Midlands

The new electric Jaguar Image copyright Jaguar
Image caption Who will produce the batteries for the new electric Jaguar?

Now Jaguar has unveiled its new electric car there's a huge battle just starting over the batteries that will power it.

At WMG, formerly the Warwick Manufacturing Group, based on the University of Warwick campus, researchers are working hard to make sure it's British battery technology that triumphs.

Read full article A jolt for the electric car industry in the Midlands

'Smart' insulin could drastically reduce injections

  • 30 December 2016
  • From the section England
Project team
Image caption The research project, based at the University of Birmingham, could take 10 years until it reaches clinical trials

For people with type 1 diabetes much of their time is spent controlling the disease by testing their blood and injecting insulin.

For young people with diabetes it's particularly complicated, but even old hands sometimes just experience "diabetes burnout" where it all seems totally overwhelming.

Read full article 'Smart' insulin could drastically reduce injections

Farmers are abandoning traditional ploughing

  • 16 December 2016
  • From the section England
Fork going into soil
Image caption The farmer at Overbury Farms says his soil has definitely improved since they stopped ploughing

There is no more familiar sight in the countryside than a tractor pulling a plough.

Ploughing remains more or less the same now as it was hundreds of years ago.

Read full article Farmers are abandoning traditional ploughing

A world's first robot farming experiment gets under way

  • 13 December 2016
  • From the section England
Robot vehicle
Image caption This small robot vehicle is being used to test the driving system that will be fitted to a compact tractor

In a soggy Shropshire field on the edge of the Harper Adams University campus an amazing experiment is just beginning.

Can you plant, grow and harvest a hectare of spring barley using only robots?

Read full article A world's first robot farming experiment gets under way

Is the badger cull helping control the spread of TB?

  • 7 September 2016
  • From the section England
Badger
Image caption Up to 3,800 badgers could be culled this year in the Midlands

At the end of August, the badger cull was expanded to two new areas in the Midlands.

When we covered this story at the time, I mentioned we were still waiting on more data about the impact of the cull and now that data been released.

Read full article Is the badger cull helping control the spread of TB?

Recycling innovation makes gadgets a little bit greener

Earth magnet
Image caption A rare earth magnet turns to powder as it is exposed to hydrogen

Scientists in Birmingham have found a new way to recycle the very important metals found in almost every type of modern technology.

A breakthrough that could have a huge implications for the tech industry.

Read full article Recycling innovation makes gadgets a little bit greener

A breakthrough blood test for serious brain injuries

Scientist at laptop
Image caption The aim is to reduce the size of the prototype detector by half so it could be carried by an ambulance and used at the scene of an accident

Injuries to the brain are impossible to detect at the scene of an accident.

The end result is either a waste of resources, as patients are sent for expensive and unnecessary scans.

Read full article A breakthrough blood test for serious brain injuries