Yorkshire Environment For All
River Ouse York on a Foggy Winter
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly to say nothing of the downright diabolical! Do we care about the environment where we live, work and spend our recreation time?
I have recently developed a stronger interest in Yorkshire’s overall environment and how our human endeavour is having a major impact. I want to spread the message be it related to health, abuse of resources or general disdain for the wider understanding of the environment. So far the various posts have not hit home but I have tended to focus on the ugly or worse: In the last month I have posted with photographs about 9 issues in my whimsical style including:-
- Noise is Environmental Pollution – Disturbing a Peaceful life
- Air Pollution an Environment Problem in Yorkshire –Yorkshire more polluted then expected
- Litter and Wheelie Bins There is a lot of trash about
- Naturally Looking After Wildlife Yorkshire Charity looking after Wildlife for us
- Visual Environment Hag Farm Ilkley Old farmers equipment
- Wrong Sort of Plastic on the Line Railway Track & Platform dumping
- Shed Street Keighley – Our Environment Casual litter attitudes
- Idle Litter Louts – Keep Yorkshire Litter Free Who causes Litter
- Interesting and Unusual Facts about Castleford The Aire and Plastic Straws
To this I would add Marine Conservation in Yorkshire published last March
- Following condemnation from theEnvironment Agency (EA) in the 2016 study produced this month that ‘nearly 90% of rivers fail to meet environmental quality standards’ now is the time to consider the state of Yorkshires great rivers.
- In October 2017 the WWF produced results of a nine-month investigation on the state of UK rivers that reveals 40% of all our rivers in England and Wales were polluted with raw sewage. This is caused by discharge from outdated sewage treatment plants and sewer overflows during extreme rainfall. Too little public information or concern has led to water companies and government not taking enough preventative action.
- The Environment Agency produces detailed maps highlighting the incidence of river pollution but who investigates and acts upon the information. Pollutants from industry are a major concern and the EA highlights :
- Metal, minerals and chemicals from industry including paper, pulp and board manufacturing
- Waste landfill sites, waste treatment, transfer and storage sites
- Fuel and power production and contaminated land.
- The farming industry needs more effort to ensure agricultural leaks of slurry, illegal dumping and fertiliser abuse are reduced or better still prevented all together. Polluted rivers can also be caused by run off from roads, urban area dross and land that has been intensively fertilised transfers nitrates and phosphorous into our rivers.
- Us, the great Yorkshire public are sometimes guilty of disposing of garbage or litter directly into rivers even indiscriminate feeding of ducks or pets. Pouring items down a drain, sink or toilet can end up in a river. Take care with medications or drugs that should be returned to the chemist for safe disposal.
Over the last two years Yorkshire Water has been fined £1.45 million for illegally discharging sewage that polluted the River Ouse near York and Rud Beck and the River Crimple in Harrogate.
According to the Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust the Swale, Ure, Nidd, Upper Ouse, Wharfe and Lower Ouse catchment have a legacy of metal mining that accounts for 2% of the reasons waters fail to meet quality standards.
Rivers of blood(y) plastic have hit the headlines recently. Some river banks have plastic detritus that looks gross and is doing damage to the water in rivers and seas.
On the brighter side 14% of rivers have good ecological status according to EA’s ‘The State of the Environment Water Quality’ report and water quality is better than at any time since the industrial revolution according to EA chairman Emma Howard Boyd. (What century is she living in?)
Talking of industrial revolutions ‘Laurie Dews of Selby worked the Ouse from 1937 to 1987, and is now the only man remaining with first-hand experience of a lost way of life.’ Whilst not focused on pollution but the life of a Yorkshire river bargeman this interesting book harks back to simpler times and a less disposable society.
Navigate around the Plastic in the Aire & Calder
On the banks of the river at Castleford is a deluge of plastic and other litter waiting to be washed down stream to the sea. It may take some time waiting for the next storm and high flood but this sort of mess near the centre of town will surely drift to the sea. I wont go on in this report as it is about Castleford and I have covered several environmental issues recently.
Celebrate instead the 132-yard long S-shaped footbridge that was opened almost 10 years ago (how time and pigeons fly). Held to be a ‘really beautiful piece of architecture … there is a sense of real excitement and movement when you walk across the decks’. (After a recent cup of tea in the old Queens mill I asked if a new bridge was near by? The waitress summed it up, ‘there is a bridge but it don’t take you anywhere fancy’. Never the less as a newcomer to the town I thought it looked fancy enough for the start of a regeneration of this ). very very old area.
Aire & Calder Navigation
Leeds and Liverpool Canal – Foulridge to Leeds with the Aire and Calder and Calder and Hebble Navigations from Leeds to Knottingley and Castleford to Sowerby Bridge (Waterways Series) Map
Predominantly a leisure facility the Aire Calder Navigation around Castleford allows large loads of goods to be carried from the Humber ports. With the redeveloped waterfront area in Leeds it joins the Leeds Liverpool canal effectively running right across the county and country. It is also a popular leisure facility for boats, walkers, fishermen and cyclists.
The Navigation connects Wakefield, to reach the Huddersfield and Rochdale Canals. The Selby Canal connection boats to the Ouse, from where they can travel upstream to reach York, Boroughbridge and Ripon, or downstream to the River Derwent. Beyond Goole are the Humber and hence Hull, Immingham, and the North Sea. The Sheffield & South Yorkshire Navigation with the Don Navigation forms a links with Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield to the south. So in one sense Castleford is justifyably at the center of Yorkshire.
Chocolate And Allinsons Flour
- Like Terrys at York, Castleford has a claim to be a provider of Yorkshire top chocolate treats. After Eight Mints were manufactured in Castleford from 1970 at a local Rowntrees factory until Nestles took over then closed it down.
- Around Castleford sweets and candies are called Spice and liquorice is known as Spanish. Bellamy’s Chocolate covered Liquorice Allsorts were a local product and you can guess where Pontefract cakes come from.
- Haribo, produced theirfirst golden bear in 1960 and now has a new sweet factory in Castleford. The company also bought the owner of Pontefract Cakes and employs over 500 in Yorkshire.
- Allisons stone ground wholegrain flower was milled in Castleford as one of 3 sites suppling bread makers since the 19th century.
Ancient and Modern Castleford Quirks And Facts
- The book above did not include Papa’s fish and chips where I should have ordered the pensioners deal in this Castleford chippy. They also own the world’s largest fish and chip shop in Willerby and others in Hull and Cleethorpes and in 2017 won a BBC contest The Best of British Takeaways.
- The station has a couple of confusing subway or tunnels to reach the southern side where the old platform is grassed over. Arriving by train from Leeds I expected the return journey to retrace my steps (or rails). On jumping on the train I was surprised and a little disconcerted when it went backward towards Sheffield again only to swing around in a loop to get back to Leeds.
- Local celebrities include Henry Moore (1898-1986) the sculptor born in the town and Viv Nicholson (1936 – 2015) of Spend, Spend, Spend and football pools fame.
- 15,000 years ago nomad tribes used the Aire valley as an east- west crossing and a limestone ridge to move north south. As farming developed and the bronze age developed Henges like the ferrybridge henge were developed as settlements.
- In Roman time Castleford was called Lagentium.
- Local entertainment can be found at Digger Land the JCB themed attraction, Snozone, Xscape and nature reserve Fairburn Ings.
Rugby League in Castleford
- Classy Cas – A catch phrase for the rugby league team aka Castleford Tigers
- John Joyner is a Tigers Hall Of Fame Inductee played over 600 games for Castleford and once scored 5 tries in one match in 1973.
- Weldon Road or The Jungle’ has been the home ground since 1926. A new retail park and stadium called Five Towns retail park will become the new stadium in 2020.
- Largest home gate at Weldon road was 25,449 in 1935 against Hunslet. They played in the 1969 challenge cup final in front of a crowd of 97,939
- Daryl Powell has been head coach since 2013 with and Danny Orr and Ryan Sheridan as assistants.
Train companies do not need an excuses for late running trains but nevertheless here is a new one. Not the one about all staff are too busy clearing the rubbish dumped by passengers but ‘the wrong sort of plastic on the line’.
Let’s have a straw poll about litter in the form of tubes of plastic used and discarded in their billions. Leeds railway station is going to be in for some stick over this poll and post where consumers choose to leave plastic straws behind. Why do drink retailers reach for the plastic when sustainable materials like waxed paper as formerly used in school milk (remember that.) New trendy straw devices include biodegradable bamboo, reusable metal, bioplastics or glass drinking vessels with modified spouts. Better still why not stop being a sucker! Tip your drink into your mouth or Gizza Swig .
The last straw is further plastic annoyance coming on top of a series of pollution difficulties in rivers, seas and general environment that is making the situation intolerable .
Now as a straw in the wind a small sign that hints of something about to happen but that may only be the naming of a new train ‘The Strawman’. This would be an intentional misrepresentation supported by plastic straw manufacturers. Thomas the tank engine is going environmentally friendly and the Fat Controller will be renamed the Fat Strawman a person having no substance or integrity. His favourite film ‘Strawless in Seattle’ and worst song ‘Stawburried in Fields For Ever’.
Enough of Straw (bales and bales of it) it is but a small part of the bigger plastics problem.
Leeds Railway Station again!. Platform 17b on the 30th January 2018. The volume is too great to be casual littering. Nor are they the type of drink vessels that generally come from licensed premises. I was lucky not to spot 10 green bottles hanging on the line (but counting cans I am not so sure).
The plastic wrapper or bag was deposited at Menston a small urban station on the Wharfedale line. There was other detritus laying about and it was possible to believe a large piece of plastic caught on the lines or power cables could lead to “Eleven minutes late, signal failure at Northern Rail.” ( with apologies to Reginald Perrin).
I couldn’t get good pictures of the fly tipping on various embankments on the journey between the two train stations. In parts it was gross and dangerous and down to unthinking idiots who threw stuff over a wall or fence creating a threat to trains on the line. (more when I have evidence).
How Big is the Noise Pollution Problem in Yorkshire
For ambient noise according to DfE some of the worst polluted locations around the UK include Hull, Sheffield and the whole of West Yorkshire. It is harder to measure excessive noise other than on a case by case basis but on a recent survey of complaints:
- Doncaster was firmly ahead for noisy neighbourhoods with 6,231 complaints in a year just over 20 complaints per 1,000 head.
- Leeds came second with 12,295 complaints equivalent of 16 complaints per 1,000 population. Third was Rotherham with 2,551 complaints or just under 10 complaints per 1,000.
- Rural areas didn’t escape completely. Rydale saw 177 complainants within a population of just over 52,000 (so 3 complaints per 1,000) and Richmond had 195 complaints within its population of 53,900 (4 complaints per 1,000).
- Hambleton, North Yorkshire was almost idyllic with only 5 complaints data from Cirrius Research
Church bells are to win protection under new planning rules to stop people who move into towns and villages forcing councils to silence them. Nimbys loose out Churches have repeatedly had to comply with noise abatement orders to silence church bells after complaints from often only a handful of homeowners despite the fact that they have tolled for decades. However, ministers have now decided that churches should not have “unreasonable restrictions put on them because of changes in nearby land uses since they were established” because new homes are built near them. Even though their bells have chimed for centuries, churches across the country have been slapped with night-time noise abatement orders after complaints from just a handful of neighbours.
Traffic and airport noise are more subject to planning restrictions as a means of preemptive enforcement. Nimbys are restricted in what complaints they can successfully pursue.
The Law and Pollution Control
- Noise accounts for most of the complaints that local councils and the Environment Agency receive about environmental pollution.
- The police can deal with a complaint if the noise amounts to a breach of the peace, or where it is associated with threatening, violent or other anti-social behaviour.
- Noise nuisance laws do not apply to noise from traffic or planes, demonstrations about a cause or premises occupied by the armed forces.
- Councils are responsible for looking into complaints about noise from premises and gardens such as alarms, loud music or barking dogs etc. Councils are also responsible for noisy vehicles, construction work, machinery or equipment in the street (for example, music from car stereos).
- Permitted noise levels are 10 decibels (dBA) above the underlying level of noise above 24 dBA
In 2017 the noise abatement society awards highly commended Kirklees Council’s Environmental Health team for work with Planning Enforcement and Development Control colleagues. Noise complaints from housing estates developed in close proximity to industrial premises are problematic but overhauled planning application conditions were designed to help.
In the previous year Sheffield City Council’s night noise service became untenable. A new ‘Night Time Enforcement Team’ for complaints outside the normal remit of the Environmental Protection Act was established to provide a ‘One stop shop’ dealing with issues affecting the wider community during the night time.
What is Noise
- What individuals consider to be noise is unwanted or unpleasant sounds that are mood altering, or at an uncomfortable level due to duration, volume of sound or time of day.
- Noise can damage hearing, disrupts sleep, annoys in everyday life. The wrong noise interferes with concentration, conversation, relaxation, work and leisure.
- Excessive noise at work can give suffers deafness, ringing in the ears or other ear conditions.
Are fast food retailers and fast food a known problem causing litter in our Yorkshire environment? Consider the inconsiderate who dumped their chips and wrapper out of the car window in a supermarket car park. It looks like they had a proper picnic plastic forks and all.
Is it the pubs and clubs that provide glasses to leave in hedge rows or the supermarket that sold the Irn Bru that intoxicated someone to ditch their drink in the same shrubbery.
The Answer to What Causes Litter
- There is only one ‘Cause’ and that is the litter lout who created all this and over 95% of urban litter.
- It is not the retailer, chippy or drinks vender that is the cause, it is you or someone you know.
- Overflowing litter bins and rubbish falling off the back of lorries are all caused by consumers. It is the habits and attitude of such consumers that cause litter.
Like the air in parts of Yorkshire the whole subject stinks! The World Health Organisation and now the EU have railed against the UK’s failures over air pollution and yet our politicians are failing us. It is crucially important for our children and the subsequent generations that we take the subject seriously albeit without over reacting. For the largest county, with our share of good fresh air, we still have significant regions that are the worst in the UK excluding London.
Over 80 per cent of youngsters are living in areas with illegal pollution particularly in areas of Leeds, York, Hull and Middlesbrough. That is a statistic not to be sniffed at!
Causes of Air Pollution Indoors(I) and Outdoors(O)
- High levels of nitrogen dioxide and fuel residues caused by cars, lorries and public transport. O
- Greenhouse gasses and pollutants that have escaped into the atmosphere contributing to global warming. O
- Industrial processes, farming and specific manufacturing operations that discharge into the air that we breath. I. O
- Other natural sources such as volcano, forest fires and wind distribution from around the globe. O
- Atmospherically deposited toxic substances including acid rain. O
- Plastic and other materials naturally deteriorating inside homes. I
- Burning fossil fuel, using carbon resources for heat and energy production such as wood, coal and oil. I.O
A Breath of Fresh Air
The problems of anthropogenic activity mount. Human pollution of seas and rivers, indiscriminate use and control of plastics and the disposal of waste are individual issues worthy of a more coherent approach. Yorkshire could lead the way instead it is currently lagging behind the rest of the UK. In the UK, tens of thousands of deaths are attributed to air pollution every year and our NHS feels the brunt of respiratory, heart and cancer problems. The experts say ‘Poor air quality is a major public health crisis’.
An opportunity exists to tackle these complex issues by taking a county wide approach. It may lead to the provision of new jobs and industries with cleaner environments in and for Yorkshire
The impact on air quality is a material planning consideration including appropriateness of industrial, commercial and housing options. These items plus travel and transport issues are key in determining planning applications.
Defra’s Daily Air Quality Index give a national and county view using Yorkshire monitoring stations. This and wider reading will illuminate more of the issues and details.
- Available from your library or Amazon by clicking on an image.
- Long term exposure to air pollution may result in bronchitis, emphysema, lung cancer and asthma.
- Four of the worst indoor pollutants come from tobacco smoke, radio active radon, formaldehyde and asbestos. Outdoor pollutants can also seep into buildings causing sick building syndrome.
- Air pollution caused by sulfur, sulfuric acid, ozone, and nitric acid can damage metals, plastics, clothing and building materials.
Available from your library or Amazon by clicking on an image
This Leeds street looks comparatively clear of rubbish at least until you look closely. Ignoring the weeds growing on the kerb and in the gutters there is still a lot of detritus down the street that should be in bins.
There is a large number, by my count 20 wheelie bins that could have contained this rubbish but householders or the bin collectors haven’t bothered binning it. It is hard to say if it has been collection day or not. The bins are not overflowing and are in some order whilst my emptied bins tend to be randomly arranged after the operatives visit. By the same token the handles on the bins do not look like they are collection vehicle friendly – I have to have the handles facing the road
What is the collective noun for Wheelie Bins? Is a ‘Litter of bins’ too obvious? I have heard of a herd of bins in a poem by Les Barker but a bevvy, collection or congregation would all fit. Is a bin replacement service, a spillage or an overflow a form of collective name because one of those would get my vote. Before I get into some Barney Rubble I will trouble the editor with a look around at other bin locations.
Birmingham having overfull wheelie bins rolled out over the city. It’s what the wheels are for.
Wheelie Bins Around the Country
- Residents with missing bins in Leeds are given the following patronising information ‘ If your bin has gone missing on collection day, please check with your neighbours to make sure it hasn’t been taken by mistake. If you don’t find it, it may have fallen into the collection wagon. If this is the case, a new bin will have been automatically ordered by our crew and will be delivered within 7 – 14 working days.’ Oh yes believe that if you will.
- In Cardiff ‘if you live in a property that has recycling and waste collected in bins you will need to have
- All bins, bags and kerbside caddies put out before 6am on the day of collection or no earlier than 4:30pm the day before.
- Collections run throughout the day from 6am till 10pm.
- Please return your emptied bins and food caddies to your property boundary by 9am the day after collection. (No sleep for the wicked).
- Cambridgeshire encouraged the BBC to take a lighthearted look at the issues surrounding wheelie bins and the result can be seen here.
- In Yorkshire there are 22 local authorities collecting refuse of which 15 are also directly responsible for disposal, All but 4 have services provided in house or in partnership. Sheffield and Doncaster are notable exceptions having contracted with Veolia and Sita UK respectively
- Wakefield has the lowest recycling percentage with 65% of refuse going into landfill.
- North Yorkshire and the East Riding have the largest weight of refuse per person at 500kg per year.
Amazon tribes offer future wheelie bin content
There are contrasting views that I would like to consider by looking at Yorkshire’s approach to wild life. They are represented by the Yorkshire Wildlife Park the commercially orientated entertainment park and the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust the 70 year old members organisation managing designated nature reserves.
Grit gets you everywhere
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Yorkshire has a landscape second to none that is rich in the variety of flora and fauna of largely native species. We don’t need to tell Yorkshire folk about the hill farms or the fertile pastures in the Dales, Wolds & North Yorkshire national park nor the wetland and moorland, fen and bog that have been created as a result of our fine climate. Add to this the natural environment around our rivers and coast and no wonder wildlife like Yorkshire folk are happy and proud to live in the county.
This living environment and natural heritage is to be treasured and where necessary protected for future generations. It is held in trust for those future generations so it is natural for a membership led charitable trust to support the maintenance and well being of the Yorkshire wild life.
Facts about Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
- The organisation is headquartered in York and our trust has been operating since 1946. It is partnered with the 46 other UK wildlife trusts.
- Yorkshire Wildlife Trust now manages 97 nature reserves across the traditional county. There is bound to be a site near you and many are a treat for visitors, naturalists, bird watchers and tourists.
- The top sites with visitor centers and educational programmes include : Living Seas Centre, Flamborough. Pearson Park Wildlife Garden, Hull Potteric Carr Nature Reserve, Doncaster Spurn National Nature Reserve, Holderness and Stirley Community Farm, Huddersfield
- Moorland, ancient woodlands, beaches and mixed wetland habitats are all areas under the protection offered by the trust.
- As a registered charity no.210807 they have an income of just over £5m per annum of which 80% is from members or the trusts own efforts. The government funded conservation and land management subsidies account for the rest.
- The Grazing Animal Project is just one of the many schemes currently in hand ’10 years ago Yorkshire Wildlife Trust was given a small flock of about 60 black Hebridean sheep to be used for conservation grazing. Over the years this flock has been managed so that now there are over 500 sheep which are kept at three home sites and sent out in “teams” to graze more than 35 of our reserves to maintain important habitats for wildlife.’ This helps protect rare breeds and bring rare habitats back into balance.
Facts about Yorkshire Wildlife Park
- The zoo and wildlife park was converted from a riding school and farm – Brockholes Visitor Center Doncaster in 2009
- It claims to be ‘A dynamic centre for conservation and welfare’
- There are 70+ different species of animal.
- The cost of an adult day ticket until 9th March is £15.50 and £13.50 for a child over 2
- No pets or dogs, balls, skateboards or scooters are permitted into the no smoking park.
- Daily attractions include Meerkat and Mongoose Madness and Feeding Time, Bear Facts, Deadly Bugs and Wallaby Walkabout
- There is a linked charity foundation no.152642 with income of circa £102,000 pa. The aims include to ‘continue to build and promote YWPF’s brand; To continue to implement a comprehensive fundraising strategy; To continue to identify and develop relationships with key partners and stakeholders’ and make grants or can arrange expert support in the areas of exotic species conservation and welfare. YWPF will also consider supporting research.
There is room for wildlife organisations of all persuasions – let us also make room for all appropriate wildlife and human endeavour. Like the Yorkshire Naturalists Union Charity No: 224018 one of the country’s oldest wildlife organisations, having celebrated the 156th anniversary last year.
In an oft quoted comment ‘charity begins at home’ so my personal preference is to enjoy and support the 90 odd nature reserves of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust rather than exotic animals best supported in far flung climates.
A stake in the Environment
With my new found interest in the visual environment I looked back over seven years of God’s Own County blogs and came across this farm dump. It was originally posted as ‘Hag Farm Dales Way Wharfedale’ but I need to return to the site as I am sure it has been cleared up to an extent and the ice cream stall taken to a museum. Following the Shed Street urban landscape comments it is interesting to note that the rural landscape can also have its waste disposal issues.
Original Environmental Issues
- What crops are grown on the Ebor Way – Dales Way Leeds link? Duff tractors?
- Hag Farm in Burley in Wharfedale shows off the best crop of rusty old equipment you will see this side of Bowness.
- Walk down Bleachmill Lane from Menston and across a couple of styles to see farming Hag style!
Na then Ducks
- Like many other farmers they seem to have produced a good crop of black plastic for the last few years.
- On a more recent visit I was interested to see the large diameter cylinders have been replaced by new, cube shaped bales. Now farmers will be able to stack them higher.
Perceived Plastic Pollution
- One of the great beauties of the dales landscapes is the old barns dotted up the valleys. I know it is too idealistic to expect them to still be used for storage of animal’s winter feed but who wonders at the black plastic bales? How many plastic wrappers are recycled?
- Another good modern crop is of tyres found in great quantity at several spots on Hag Farm. At first I thought it may be the spare tyres the dales walkers are trying to work off. Then I realised the exercisers idea was to make spare tyres invisible – not at all what is happening.
Well trod treds
- After your walk you may be fancying refreshing ice cream, drink, sweets or ice lolly. Well it is not only the ice cream that is flaky.
Buy One and Stop One
- Burley in Wharfedale publish several walks that pass Hag Farm link.
Some streets and places have names that hint at a former life. Who didn’t shed a tear of laughter at Tony Hancock and his eponymous home No 23 Railway Cuttings East Cheam. What is no laughing matter is the state of rubbish and litter in this quiet Keighley street. Lest you think the council are on their way to collect the over flowing trade bins below is how Shed Street itself looked.
Houses on the street sell for well under £100,000 (£78,000 in March 2017) and it is not a surprise when you consider this litter strewn environment. Keighley has the ability to regenerate itself and create a dynamic community founded on old traditional values and the local industrial heritage.
- Waste minimisation needs far more attention. Mantras like reuse, recycle, repurpose need a reality check as they are not making enough impact.
- Self help and combined local action can help. Organised clean ups, self tipping (you may as well use those cars to take items to the tip) or get local councils to collect bulky waste.
- Cobbled streets are hard to maintain and keep clean especially when parked cars cover debris.
- Individual bins are hard to store in back to back or through terrace houses to say nothing of bin lorry access.
- Trade waste elimination via consultation with suppliers would be a start and look at these plastic bags. Proper sorting and some form of compaction is called for.
- Finally ‘shed’ a tear for the marine life that is suffering from all the plastic that finds its way into our rivers and seas. Keep the Aire Valley clean and plastic free.
North Queen Street corner of Shed St Keighley 9/1/18