Hose Pipe Ban in 2020? Not Enough Rain

Do you remember 1995 when Yorkshire Water excelled itself during that years drought and water shortages.Water rationing, bans and tankering fresh water supplies only partially alleviated the problem for the most hated water company in what Ofwat described as a “failure to deliver the standards required to consumers”. (If your memory fails seek out a super folk record by Peter Coe ‘The PR Man from Hell’ on his CD Long Company)

I predict it will be happening again after the recent light drizzle  in late September and early October 2019.

  • Hose pipe bans will accompany the flood reparations in the dales.
  • Empty reservoirs will be created by the York flood defense work.
  • Bathing with a friend never really stopped in Yorkshire ‘cos we will save owt but once again it may become compulsory.
  • Yorkshire Tea and Harrogate water will be endangered products.
  • There will be no high water at our East Coast seaside.


Tilting at Yorkshire Windmills

Firstly we exclude the modern wind farms, wind turbines and their ilk designed for energy production and despoiling  the landscape. Windmill has the clue in the name, a mill that uses wind!

Which area of the county has the greatest number of windmills and a tradition of maintaining them? In York there are 23, Beverly 19,  and the surprise Hull with 29. There are fewer in the West Riding but do not ignore 4 at Aberford and Barwick in Elmet. Information from Watermill World

Perhaps Hull is not so surprising with its port and connections with Holland. Maud Foster Mill, notionally in Lincolnshire is an English tower mill was built in 1819 for the Reckitt brithers who at the time were corn factors. Their milling and baking then launched the Hull based business of Reckitt and Coleman as suppliers of starch.

Every organisation or interest group seems to have a national day and Windmills have coined two days in 2018 to promote their preservation. National Mills Weekend will be on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th May 2018 and includes watermills. Part of The charity ‘Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) reg no. 1113753.


Shipley’s Rubbish – Airing (or Aireing) a Grievance

Looking over the wall where Otley Road crosses the River Aire in Shipley makes you wonder about the rubbishy nature of our commitment to the environment.
There are at least two companies involved with sign manufacture advertising their wares on the edge of the riverbank. Many of the signs are in disrepair and about to slide into the river (plastic and all). It is a steep slope into the river and once over the weir the flotsam will drift down stream at a rate of knots especially after the recent rain.

Broken signage is not the only problem as pop drinkers and crisp eaters have found where to lob their rubbish just over the wall. It looks like this sort of rubbish breeds with itself. It  will soon be blown or washed into the river to become some onelse’s problem.

Turning on to Dockfield Road and heading  towards the Leeds Liverpool canal there is a turning circle for barges that also formed part of the spur to the Bradford canal. I think you could walk across the canal on top of the detritus that is so compact and noxious.

A little light relief was displayed by the parking arrangements in the middle of the canal.

All photographs taken on 13th March 2018 – how long before   Shipley Rubbish is cleared? From these few photos it is hard to disagree that Shipley is currently not much cop (Rubbish). I have fallen in to the trap of blaming authorities who should be cleaning and tidying up. The real responsibility is us the public and some businesses.

Yorkshire’s Community Forest Expansion Plans

White Rose Forest plans are in place even if the trees aren’t yet but the plans are inspirational. In fact it will be many years before the plans are complete but by then there will be a continuous belt of trees across the county. The Woodlands Trust has received a welcome boost to membership and participation as a result of the publicity.

Plans to plant 50 million trees to create a “Northern Forest” include new woodland in and around Leeds and other major urban centres. Planting is planned over the next 25 years, beginning in March, across a 120-mile stretch of the M62 corridor between Liverpool and Hull. Its aim is to boost habitat for wildlife including birds and bats, protect species such as red squirrels and provide more public access to woodlands. The Northern Forest will connect the North’s five Community Forests, including the Leeds White Rose Forest, the HEYwoods Project in Hull and South Yorkshire Community Forest.

Community Forest is a partnership between local authorities and local, regional and national partners including the Forestry Commission and Natural England. The founding basis for each Forest is a government-approved Forest Plan, a 30-year vision of landscape-scale improvement

CFT Forest map of the UKmaps with thanks to Community Forest Trust charity no 1072706.

The community charity trust is an environmental charity passionate about community forests and the power of trees to transform places and strengthen and enhance communities.

A Bit More About Yorkshire Trees

  • The oldest living trees in Yorkshire may be the ancient yews at Fountains Abbey.
  • The new forest will contain  native species not more foreign firs! Oak, birch and beech will figure strongly.
  • The Wych Elm in Bainbridge is a survivor of Dutch elm disease it stands as one of only two elms that has grown to a girth of over 13 feet recorded in the county.
  • Yorkshire is proving to be a real treasure chest for tree hunters with magnificent trees ‘If I could spend a month tree hunting, Yorkshire would be my county of choice. Magnificent trees are coming out of the landscape all the time’ said David Alderman, Registrar of the Tree Register who is leading a hunt for old fat trees or Champion Trees.
  • Thorp Perrow aboretum near Bedale is the holder of five National Plant Collections  including Ash, Lime, Walnut, Cotinus (smoke bush) and Laburnum. Not all forest trees but worth a visit.
  • In York the Museum Gardens are home to six county Champion Trees including Alder and Hornbeam.
  • The Yorkshire Arboreturm is a large garden of trees on the Castle Howard estate maintained in partnership with Kew.

Your Yorkshire Environment – Case Studies – Rivers

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:-

  1. Noise is Environmental Pollution – Disturbing a Peaceful life
  2. Air Pollution an Environment Problem in Yorkshire –Yorkshire more polluted then expected
  3. Litter and Wheelie Bins There is a lot of trash about
  4. Naturally Looking After Wildlife Yorkshire Charity looking after Wildlife for us
  5. Visual Environment Hag Farm Ilkley Old farmers equipment
  6. Wrong Sort of Plastic on the Line Railway Track & Platform dumping
  7. Shed Street Keighley – Our Environment Casual litter attitudes
  8. Idle Litter Louts – Keep Yorkshire Litter Free Who causes Litter
  9. Interesting and Unusual Facts about Castleford The Aire and Plastic Straws

To this I would add Marine Conservation in Yorkshire published last March

River Pollution

  • 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?)


Book Cover

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.


Interesting and Unusual Facts about Castleford

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 Book Cover

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

Book Cover

  • 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.


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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.

Wrong Sort of Plastic on the Line

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).

Noise is Environmental Pollution

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.

Idle Litter Louts – Keep Yorkshire Litter Free

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.

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Air Pollution an Environment Problem in Yorkshire

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!

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Causes of Air Pollution Indoors(I) and Outdoors(O)

  1. High levels of nitrogen dioxide and fuel residues caused by cars, lorries and public transport. O
  2. Greenhouse gasses and pollutants that have escaped into the atmosphere contributing to global warming. O
  3. Industrial processes, farming and specific manufacturing operations that discharge into the air that we breath. I. O
  4. Other natural sources such as volcano, forest fires and wind distribution from around the globe. O
  5. Atmospherically deposited toxic substances including acid rain. O
  6. Plastic and other materials naturally deteriorating inside homes. I
  7. 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.

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  1. Available from your library or Amazon by clicking on an image.
  2. Long term exposure to air pollution may result in bronchitis, emphysema, lung cancer and asthma.
  3. 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.
  4. Air pollution  caused by sulfur, sulfuric acid, ozone, and nitric acid can damage metals, plastics, clothing and building materials.

Book Cover

Book Cover

Available from your library or Amazon by clicking on an image