Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Stink for Spaldington Residents

With David Davis MP in Spaldington with Compost maturation heap in the background

At a meeting with Spaldington residents today I was informed that yesterday morning (Sat) the local composter had been removing 'composted' material from his farm buildings to maturation heaps in the fields near his farm. These movements are thought to have caused the foul smell that engulfed the area. I was also informed that the composter gave a two fingered greeting to the residents as they slowed their vehicle to observe what was happening.

The meeting was after I’d received a number of calls and emails from Spaldington residents regarding the smell being generated by the movement of this so called compost, especially on a Saturday so close to the Christmas holiday.

I have subsequently spoken to Environment Agency and also the ERYC Public Protection.

The current position regarding composing in the Spaldington Area

At the beginning of November I attended a meeting with a number of Spaldington residents and Jan Davie, the Environment Agency’s Environment Manager for East Yorkshire. This was a very productive meeting where the Agency was able to provide feedback on their activities and listen to the concerns of the community.

The Agency have since began a full audit of the composting and land spreading activities carried out at a Spaldington Farm which is to include an investigation of the types, quantities and source of all the material taken in over the last twelve months. Although some of the concerns relate to animal health issues and the risks associated with importing animal wastes into a farming area, which are not directly under the control of the Environment Agency, assurances have been given that the Agency are in regular contact with the Animal Health Agency (formerly the State Vets Service) and are committed to raising residents concerns.

A working group consisting of those agencies with regulatory responsibility for the composting industry has been established, these include representatives of ERYC’s Planning, Animal Health and Environmental Health, the Animal Health Agency and the Environment Agency. It is acknowledged that it is vital these organisations work together in this area to deal with residents concerns. This group met for the first time on 28th November.

It has been confirmed that ERYC Environment and Transport Overview and Scrutiny Committee is have the opportunity to scrutinise the regulation of the Agricultural Composting issue as per the motion at it’s meeting to be held in March.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Gilberdyke - Flooding update

With Gilberdyke Flood Action Group Chairman Yvonne Terry on Gilberdyke's Station Road

At last weeks meeting of the Gilberdyke Flood Action Group the discussion centred on the disturbing news that the Environment Agency has moved the goal posts, and performed a U turn regarding funding of local flood defence projects through the Medium Term Plan (MTP) application process. A number of questions were raised regarding the actions of the Environment Agency, Natural England, DEFRA, the ERYC and the Lower Ouse Internal Drainage Board, before and after the June 25th floods.

There was concern that six months on after the floods, as far as the various agencies were concerned, Gilberdyke was turning into the forgotten village. It was established that there are some 31 houses that will still not be habitable before Christmas, and the residents of 13 of these properties are living in not large static, but small touring caravans.

The group had invited Mr Graham Bate of A & F Consulting Engineers to discuss the flooding problems and look to finding a permanent solution. The discussion focussed on a number of key issues such as increased building on land that had been historically wet, householders filling in dykes over the years, and the concretisation of much of the village. It was established that Westbrook Road and Station Road must be the priority areas as this was where the majority of the house flooding occurred in June, and that these houses had become very close to flooding in the recent past.

But it was acknowledged that without the water being able to run from the village down to the river at Blacktoft, very little useful flood defence work within the village would be possible. It was deemed imperative that the Environment Agency funds the MTP application to widen and deepen the dykes down to Blacktoft and provide a pumping station to lift the water into the river.

Gilberdyke Flood Action Group Chairman, Yvonne Terry says, “Yes, there was excessive rainfall on the 25th June, but what was abundantly clear was the inadequacies of the existing infrastructure for drainage/sewerage/drains to cope with a volume of water, Gilberdyke being one of many places. It doesn’t matter how few or how many houses were flooded, any house flooded is not good enough. The authorities have a responsibility to ensure flooding is stopped; the Environment Agency are reneging on their responsibilities if they do not fund all of these Medium Term Plan schemes”.

Yvonne continues, ”Taxes, rates and levies have all been taken from us over many years and yet the fabric of our infrastructure has been allowed to be neglected and cannot cope with the requirements of modern society and climate change. There is no question; increased funding has to be found to deliver all these local flood defence projects”.

Cllr Paul Robinson adds, “I have seen flood victims in many parts of Hull and the East Riding, some of which have moved back into their properties, some are still in caravans or rented accommodation, some sleeping upstairs whilst living in a caravan during the day, some staying with relatives, and some people that lived with the mess as they did not want to or could not move out. But I am most concerned that those residents, particularly those in bungalows like we see down Gilberdyke’s Station Road, who are going to be spending Christmas in small caravans parked in their front gardens. The days and nights over the Christmas period could be a sad and quiet time for some of Gilberdyke’s residents”.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Environment Agency moves the goalposts on flood defence funding

At a recent public meeting held in North Cave with Mr Peter Holmes of the Environment Agency (EA), residents were dismayed to hear that the Environment Agency appears to have ‘moved the goalposts’ for flood defence funding applications.Under threat are the two applications for flood defence projects worth over £1.5million submitted to the Environment Agency for Medium Term Plan (MTP) funding. The two Howdenshire areas, namely North Cave, and the Lower Ouse Internal Drainage Board area including the villages of Gilberdyke, Blacktoft, Eastrington and Laxton now face an agonising wait.

I am reliably informed that during DEFRA/Environment Agency training workshop held in June of this year, the participants were told that any application with a scoring of over 20 on their predetermined scale would have been ‘favourable for approval’ and the two subsequent applications from the flood-hit areas above scored well into the 20’s.

It now appears that there has been a shifting of the goal posts, as during the North Cave meeting, Mr Peter Holmes stated that figure has been raised to the high 20’s or even as high as 30, effectively ruling out these two applications.

If this is the case does this indicate the Environment Agency are now looking at ways to accommodate the current MTP applications into the funding that was available prior to the flooding in June 2007? This smacks of fitting flood defence work into existing funding rather than increasing the funding for the work required as promised by Central Government.

This is potentially very bad news for Gilberdyke, Blacktoft, Laxton and Eastrington who were hoping the MTP application would be used to fund the £1.4million flood prevention scheme, to include dyke widening, new dykes and a new pumping station.

Phil Garland, North Cave Resident and Chairman of the Parish Flood Committee in the village adds, "As a village we must all have serious worries over the commitment of the EA towards the flood protection of rural communities. The insistence by the EA for us to look to a flood defence scheme part funded via our own fundraising and part funded by Local Authority money is ludicrous. If the beck and drainage had been adequately maintained we wouldnot be in this situation. This is, in my opinion, just another example of a government department that is under funded and is over run with middle management bureaucracy and will have a detrimental effect on our village and lives.

"Phil continues, "The opinion of the Environment Agency with regards to our MTP application is disappointing, however the community has been thrown a lifeline where the work required in North Cave could be funded by a scheme under the local levy funding route. We are committed now to working extremely closely with the Agency and their consultants to produce a flood defence scheme that will, if funding is granted, protect the future of our village."

“Having spoken to fellow Councillors, MPs and residents alike there is a shared frustration that the Environment Agency are still maintaining the following position: ‘Because of the rainfall on June 25th 2007, whatever preventative routine maintenance work on watercourses and facilities that should have been carried out previously - would have made little or no difference to the flooding that occurred on the day’. In my view this is clearly becoming an ever more untenable position to take, as more and more contradictory anecdotal evidence comes to light that if the work that should have been carried out had been, houses would have been saved as the extent of the flooding was mitigated.”

David Davis MP adds, “I am concerned that, especially in North Cave, the cost of the flood defence work required is relatively small compared with the costs incurred by householders and their insurance companies as a result of the damage caused by June 25th floods. I have written to the Environment Agency asking for an explanation as to why Howdenshire villages may well lose out to a shortfall in Government funding for flood defences.”

Please see link below to Yorkshire Post Article:

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Composting Motion unanimously approved

My composting motion to the full meeting of East Riding of Yorkshire Council was today approved by a unanimous decision. I would like to thank my fellow Councillors from all parties for their support.

I would also like to acknowledge the help of ERYC officers for their help and guidance in bringing this motion forward.

Hopefully the review of the composting industry will now take place in the early part of next year.

But today was only the beginning of the process to ensure that the Composting Industry is rigorously monitored and the regulation of the processes, especially the range of material composted, the geographic origin, the storage, and the days and methods of spreading are brought out into the open, that the composters conform to ALL regulations, and that the rights of local residents are paramount.

Also see the story in today's Yorkshire Post at the following link:

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Composting Update - motion to East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Continuing from the previous post...... I have tabled the following motion to the East Riding of Yorkshire Council's Full Council meeting to be held on Wednesday 14 November 2007

That this Council asks the Environment and Transport Overview and Scrutiny Committee to look at a review of the agricultural composting industry as a matter of urgency and how this affects the East Riding in particular. The review should include the monitoring and regulation of the processes, especially the range of material composted, the geographic origin, the storage, and the days and methods of spreading

This should have the effect of bringing forward the review to look into this diabolical situation.

The press coverage of agricultural Composting in the Yorkshire Post has been very interesting this last few days and can be veiwed at the following three links:

Many thanks to Chris Benfield at the Yorkshire Post for taking up this issue.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

North Cave Flooding Update

The North Cave Flood Committee have raised (through community fund-raising) and spent £2,350 on the preparation survey for the Medium Term Plan application submitted by the community to the Environment Agency. Subject to Environment Agency approval, this will offer a permanent solution to North Cave’s flooding.

North Cave Parish Council was successful in obtaining a grant of £5,000 from the ERYC, although the money has not yet come through to date. A decision on what this grant money is to be used is going to be taken at the meeting of the Flood Committee to be held on 6th November 2007 at 7.30 at the North Cave Village Hall. It may be that this money can be used for local action on ditch and dyke clearance if that is what is judged to be the most immediate need.

I recently attended a meeting with North Cave Parish Councillors and the Environment Agency to discuss the effects of recent flooding and action to be taken to prevent it happening again.

“It was interesting to see the Agency’s maps proudly displayed, showing land levels, the route of the Beck, and the extent of recent flooding...BUT it was more interesting observing the frustration of residents when told by the Environment Agency that only a minimum amount of work was soon to be carried out on the Beck to remove obstructions, overhanging branches and reeds.”

“The Environment Agency is proposing a feasibility study of the Beck from North Cave to the M62 within 12 months, and the Beck to be de-sludged some time after that. But, after speaking to many residents, I feel there is more than enough anecdotal evidence that the Beck needs de-sludging now.”

“I feel one can make excuses for not doing something or find reasons to do something - unfortunately all we have seen from the Environment Agency is excuses. It is totally unacceptable for the community of North Cave to live in fear of further flooding whilst the Environment Agency procrastinates over what to do.”

“The Environment Agency Officer has agreed to come back to the community and will be attending the meeting in the village hall. I would encourage local residents to go and make their views known.”

David Davis MP adds, “The Environment Agency have frankly been pretty slow in their responses throughout East Yorkshire and I am afraid North Cave is no exception. I have written to them to encourage them to get on with some action rather than spending up to 12 months carrying out a “feasibility study”. I have also had a meeting with the Chief Executive of Yorkshire Water who assures me that further remedial work is soon to be carried out to the drain under Blanchards Lane in North Cave.”

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Howden Link Road is One Step Closer

Those who have been following the campaign for a Howden link road rather than a weight limit that would have resulted in more HGVs diverted through Howdenshire villages, will be pleased to know that a significant step has been taken. The ERYC has made the decision to release the land North of Howden for development, which with an offsite contribution must pay for a future link road, to remove HGVs and other traffic from Howden's Flatgate.

I hope the site’s developers now come up with a holistic plan to address the housing needs of Howden, to include low cost starter homes as well as affordable housing, plus a range of other housing to cater for an identified need. This coupled with the recent planning approval for the new Press Association carpark on Station Road is forward looking - and can only be good news for Howden and Howdenshire’s residents and businesses.

If only a larger carpark could be provided at North Howden Railway Station!!!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Vile Stench of Composting Over Howdenshire Villages

Many people will have noticed the vile stench that is drifting over some Howdenshire villages, and has done for a while now. It appears that a small section of the East Riding is being blighted by the cumulative impact of 'so called' composters operating in and around Holme on Spalding Moor, Spaldington, Wressle and Brind.

A number of farmers operating around this cluster of Howdenshire Villages are taking in commercial waste to turn into ‘so-called’ compost. This process is in my view dangerous in the fact that animal by-products are being brought into the area from ‘who knows where’. Since the 2001 foot and mouth epidemic, which was blamed on contaminated meat in unboiled pig-swill, and in view of recent incidences of Bird Flu, Mad Cow Disease, and again foot and mouth, this unchecked movement of animal by-products is very worrying.

The ingredients used include; salad waste, feathers, egg shells (or hatchery waste), and wood chippings which are composted in sheds to a temperature hot enough to supposedly kill off dangerous bugs. The composted materials are then stored out in the open on maturation heaps, before being spread on the land and ploughed in during the planting season. A recent planning application saw a request to increase the ingredients to include; starch products, beef burgers, fleece trimmings, pet food by-products, bakery products (including pizza), tannery scrapings, prawn shells and sewage sludge.

I feel the East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) has given planning permission for composting assuming that this is a positive step in reducing landfill - although some people are saying in reality this process is more or less the same as landfill but spread only 9" deep. I don't think the Council realised exactly what the impact on communities was going to be, with some of the vilest smells now being produced by composters, and endured by residents.

The question of inspection, regulation and enforcement of composting is very confusing to many. The approval of premises to process and handle animal by products is granted by Animal Health, an agency of DEFRA. Other aspects of the whole process are dealt with by the Environment Agency and yet further aspects are considered by the Council. This is disjointed and wholly inadequate and I think a much more united and robust policing system is required.

Meanwhile, I think we must start to make the farmers tell us more about what is supposed to happen, especially the range of material composted and particularly the geographic origin, the storage of this so-called compost, and the days of spreading - so a different regime of enforcement can be applied.

I have requested the 'regulation of the composting industry' be looked into by ERYC Environment and Transport Overview and Scrutiny Committee. This is to happen early in the New Year.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Are North Cave residents being let down by the Environment Agency?

Last night (Wednesday) I attended a meeting between the Environment Agency and residents and Parish Councillors of North Cave.

It was interesting to see the Agency's maps proudly displayed showing land levels, the route of the Beck, and the extent of recent flooding.... BUT it was more interesting observing the frustration of residents when told by the Environment Agency that only a minimum amount of work was soon to be carried out on the Beck to remove obstructions, overhanging braches and some reeds.

A feasibility study of the Beck between North Cave and the point where it runs under the M63 was then going to be sometime within the next 12 months, and the Beck then de-sludged at some time after that..... It was quite clear that residents have 'more than enough' anecdotal evidence that the Beck contains a large amount of Silt and sludge which is preventing flow, and work is required now.

Those at the meeting may have seen my reaction to the Environment Agency’s excuses and reasons for not getting on and doing the work. I feel one can make excuses for not doing something or find reasons to do something – unfortunately all we saw last night was excuses. It is totally unacceptable for the community of North Cave to live in fear of further flooding whilst the Environment Agency pontificates and procrastinates over what to do.

Eventually we did get a commitment from the Environment Agency Officer to come back to the community, with dates and a plan for moving forward. This is be be at the Village Hall at 7.30pm on 6th November 2007, I await this meeting with a degree of (hopefully not misplaced) optimism and encourage as many residents as possible to attend.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A Fun Filled Morning at Bubwith Primary School

Last Tuesday I was invited by Oak Class at Bubwith Primary School to discuss the effects on the environment if the Howden weight limit had been approved. We had a really great morning and I would like to thank Miss Bailiss and Oak Class for giving me such a warm welcome and a fun filled morning. The following are some of things we discussed (I spent hours on the internet researching this!!!):

We looked at pollution from Trucks

How many lorries where on Britain’s roads in 1950? 480,000

How many cars where on Britain’s roads in 1950? 2 million

How many lorries are there on the road today? 450,000

How many cars are there on the roads today? 27 million

BUT more freight is carried by road now – Why? Lorries carried a maximum of 24 tonnes in 1950 but 44 tonnes now and are generally on the road longer.

How much CO2 do you think a lorry produces from using 1 lit of diesel? 2.63kg

How much CO2 do you think a diesel Ford Focus produces from using 1 lit of diesel? 2.63kg

Today’s 40 tonne trucks use 40% less fuel per tonne carried then 25 years ago.

It’s the km per lit that is important. A diesel Ford Focus is 5 times more economical than a 44 tonne truck BUT the truck can carry 300 times as much weight.

A truck does about 2 miles per lit whereas a Ford Focus does about 10 miles per lit.

Today’s trucks produce 80% less nitrous oxide and other nasty pollutants then 25 years ago.

Today’s large trucks have 6 axles where the large trucks of 25 years ago had 3; therefore each axle today carries 7.3 tonnes whereas 25 years ago this was 8 tonnes. Which truck would cause most damage to the road? The Older truck

One of today’s trucks carries the same as 12 x 7.5 tonne trucks – so would it be better to have one large truck or 12 smaller trucks?

And finally….. 20 of today’s modern trucks makes the same amount of noise as one truck of 25 years ago……

So if the proposed weight limit were to prevent HGVs from travelling through Howden’s Flatgate, which instead had to travel, an extra 16 miles to reach their destination how much extra fuel would be used? Answer - 8 lit of diesel, which equates to 21.04kg of CO2. So if this was to apply to 100 truck movements in a day that would be 800 lits or 2.104 tonnes of CO2 PER DAY.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Network Rail Cleans key dyke in Gilberdyke for first time in 30 years

Network Rail have this week proceeded dig out the key dyke at the side of the railway, this will at least allow surface water to drain out of the West side of Gilberdyke to the main Lower Ouse Drainage Internal Board dyke down to Blacktoft. I am led to believe this is the first time in 30 years that this dyke has been cleared.

The Gilberdyke Flood Action Group is to hand deliver a specific flooding questionnaire to every Gilberdyke household over the next week, in order to determine the true extent of the flooding as well as inviting residents to put forward their experiences, thoughts and suggestions. This information will then be collated and used as evidence to support the MTP application, provide feedback to the East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s flood working group, and determine what can be done to actually remove the water from the village during times of heavy rainfall. The completed forms can be dropped off in boxes provided at the supermarket in Gilberdyke as well as the Post Office.

The Group is also requesting if anyone in the village could provide any old maps, plans or photographs showing the original dykes or water courses. Also for long standing residents to come forward if they have local knowledge of these original dykes or water courses. This will enable a forward plan to be created with a view to reopening dykes and watercourses as required to solve future flooding problems.

The Flood Action Group should be given the credit for what they have achieved so far, working with the LOIDB and other groups and organisations to get things moving. The tasks ahead include research and the identification of original dykes in the village that have been potted and filled or just filled in, acknowledgment of ownership, and the funding for getting these dykes reopened and/or re-potted as required.

Date of next meeting: Wednesday 10th October 7.30pm in the Common Room, Scalby Lane, Gilberdyke

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Tidal Power Breakthrough deserves support

The Proteus NP500 Tidal Power Pontoon (artists impression shown above) has achieved an efficiency that is greater than any other tidal power device. Manufacturing costs of the device are minimal, which means that for the first time ever, tidal electricity can be generated at commercially competitive prices.

Experts at the University of Hull have achieved a tidal power breakthrough that could revolutionise renewable energy generation, and is something I wholeheartedly welcome.

The East Riding, with its long length of coastline and tidal rivers could, and perhaps should be at the pioneering edge of tidal power development and this is why I fully support this work being done on Tidal Power by Hull University, but ultimately this concept will need support of Central Government.

Broadly speaking I welcomed the decision by ERYC to sign up to the Nottingham Declaration some months ago. By signing the declaration it showed the Council accepting that climate change is occurring now, and its effects will be far reaching.

The signing of the Declaration may be the first step in the ERYC developing a holistic energy policy, which must include both energy generation and energy conservation as they are now accepted as being inextricably linked. This policy could be innovative and forward looking, and may well ultimately have the consent of the masses.

The declaration includes a commitment to reduce emissions in line with Government targets, to help local residents and businesses reduce energy costs, and encourage all sectors in the local community to take the opportunity to assess, and adapt to reduce their own greenhouse gases.

It is important that there are incentives to actually save energy and as a council we must continue to do this through encouraging energy savings in buildings both new and old, as well as educating people in the simple measures that can save power, such as reducing the amount of appliances left on standby mode and the use of low energy light bulbs.

The issue of renewable energy is about more than just Wind Energy, and that larger picture is what the ERYC signed up to with the Nottingham Declaration. Wind Energy is not a problem free solution and care should be taken in the siting of windfarms, the general opinion seems to be “site wind turbines where the wind is consistent and where the impact on communities is minimal, with offshore windfarms being the favoured option”. There are those who would like to see the county blighted with windfarm after windfarm, whatever the prevailing conditions and the effect on neighbouring communities, all I would say is that there has to be a balance between the benefits and the detrimental impact on the countryside.

For more information on the Hull University Project and/or the Nottingham Declaration visit:

Monday, September 03, 2007

£1.4million Application Submitted for Gilberdyke, Blacktoft, Laxton & Eastrington flood prevention scheme

An application has been submitted to the Environment Agency by the Lower Ouse Internal Drainage Board (LOIDB) for two separate schemes worth some £1.4million to relieve the future potential flooding for households and businesses in the villages of Gilberdyke, Blacktoft, Eastrington and Laxton.

The schemes are part of a ‘Medium Term Plan’ and are to include broadening and deepening of existing dykes, and the installation of new pumping facilities at Blacktoft and Laxton to lift the water into the river during times of flooding.

The timing of the application was crucial as the deadline was very tight. I would like to thank Local consultants AF Consulting of Newport, the LOIDB officers, and clerk Eddie Allen and his staff.... We all worked together to ensure the August 31st deadline was met.

Credit should also be given to Gilberdyke’s recently formed Flood Action Group who organised the community into sending many letters, as well as residents from other villages who also sent letters and messages to the LOIDB demanding that action be taken.

A decision on the application is expected by Christmas, when the LOIDB will know if the money has been made available from Central Government, this money will be then ring fenced for the project and hopefully specific design work can start in early 2008.

This is a positive step for residents of Gilberdyke, Blacktoft, Eastrington and Laxton, and if approved by Central Government will offer a permanent solution to removing floodwater rapidly from these communities. The effect on Gilberdyke should be to reduce the level of the water table, allowing rainfall without flooding, but this is only part of the solution and there will still be much to do in order to re-open or re-pot dykes filled in by developers and householders.

The next meeting of the Gilberdyke Flood Action Group is to be held at 7.30pm on 12th Sept 2007 at the Common Room, Scalby Lane, Gilberdyke.

"I offer my full support to this application, it is vital that the Environment Agency approves these schemes in order to prevent a repeat of the tragic flooding seen recently across the East Riding" David Davis MP

Monday, August 13, 2007

Gilberdyke Flood Meeting report

Further to the Flood Meeting held in Gilberdyke last Wednesday, 8th August 2007.

Many thanks to all those who attended and those who put their names forward to be part of a Parish Council Flood Action Group to deal with the whole flooding issue.

The meeting was always going to be emotional, with many Gilberdyke residents suffering the adverse effects, many having to move out whilst others electing to stay in their homes whilst repair work is carried out.

The East Riding of Yorkshire Council is asking all Ward Councillors and Parish Councils to report on the flooding in communities, and for suggestions as to what worked and what didn’t, what lessons can be learned, and what can be done to prevent a reoccurrence of the flooding. This will be one of the first tasks of the Flood Action Group.

During the recent flooding the area south of Gilberdyke and the railway, including the dykes in front of the farms on Bellasize Lane, into which the surface water from the west side of Gilberdyke discharges were found to be flooded, with water across the road in places.

“Ironically at the same time the 3 large dykes taking this water down to the River Ouse had a normal level of water at the river end, this raised the question of whether these dykes were not blocked or badly maintained. It was also confirmed that a number of fields were flooded in the Bellasize and Bennetland areas and south towards the river; therefore it is clearly not just householders who suffered but also farmers”.

A Lower Ouse Internal Drainage Board (LOIDB) proposal for improving the flow of surface water from Gilberdyke and the land south to the river was discussed at length. This includes plans for a new cross dyke to bring the main dykes together, deepening and regrading of existing dykes, and the installation of a pumping station, similar to the one exiting at Yokefleet, to pump the water up and over into the river. The effect of this would be to ensure surface water drains quickly from Gilberdyke and the surrounding communities.

“I have since spoken to the ERYC finance department regarding funding the Lower Ouse Internal Drainage Board proposal, and will have further discussions and meetings in the days and weeks to come. I realise the problems associated with getting water out of villages such as Gilberdyke is shared by other communities, the nearest being North Cave, where again the main water course from the village could not cope with the volume of water, with lack of maintenance being one of the factors”.

“It is acknowledged that to get water out of Gilberdyke in the future is a significant problem and must be the priority, without this being achieved very little effective work can be done in the village. But, once the water can flow freely from Gilberdyke, other work inside the village itself can be done to further alleviate the flooding problems”.

“This one proposal for Gilberdyke may well become part of a much larger flood defence project, therefore we should be mindful of working in isolation, but not put off doing as much as we can”.

The role of Natural England and the Environment Agency was also questioned with many residents and farmers feeling it unacceptable to be flooded within their homes and land, because the section where a major dyke enters the river cannot be cleaned of silt build up for the sake of protecting reed beds, water voles and great crested newts.

A report put out by the ERYC some 2/3years ago in response to a thorough investigation of Gilberdyke’s foul and surface water drainage by the Parish Council, Yorkshire Water, LOIDB, ERYC Highways, ERYC public health and some residents was also discussed. This report indicated numerous problems with the internal drainage system caused mainly by incorrectly potted dykes. Under riparian law the householders should be prepared to reclaim and maintain these. This is something the Action Group will also be looking into.

The impact of increased development and a perceived lack of local input into planning decisions were also raised. Last year Gilberdyke Parish Council sent out a simple letter seeking support for the Parish Council in opposing any further housing or industrial development in the village until such a time that the village infrastructure be improved, with the village drainage certainly being one of the major infrastructural concerns. At that time some 460 Gilberdyke residents from over 350 households responded of which 453 supported the Parish Council’s position, whilst only 7 residents did not.

“Rest assured the ERYC took note of the feelings of Gilberdyke’s residents last year, and I along with my fellow Howdenshire Ward Councillors will be continuing to make sure residents voices are heard on future development as well the overall flooding situation”.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Access Denied to Newport Residents

Newport residents have been denied motor vehicle access to the road linking Thimble Hall Lane and Canal Side West by two large new gates installed by the Hull and District Angler’s Association, who claim to own the road. Conversely the residents of Newport who have used the road for over 20 years claim that the road is a public highway.

Clearly the gates have been installed against the wishes of many Newport residents, local horse riders, and certainly against the wishes of Newport Parish Council who are fighting to have the gates removed. I fully support the residents and the Parish Council, it is clearly not acceptable and the gates should be removed at once.

If the Hull and District Angler’s Association (who I’m led to believe do own the adjacent pond) had wanted to ingratiate themselves to local residents then this heavy handed approach is surely the last thing to embark upon.

The road was originally constructed as an access road during the construction of the M62 and runs alongside. If we were to see a repeat of last week’s accident with an HGV crashing off the motorway along this section, I would not like to think that the emergency services were prevented from reaching a victim because of these gates. Therefore it is essential the gates be removed even if the Angler’s Association are subsequently proven to own the road.
I've been asked to add the following press release to this post - Paul Robinson 30/July/2007
Anglers no longer welcome in Newport as angry residents are “Locked Out” of part of their own village.

The villagers of Newport are up in arms over the blocking of one of their village roads by Kevin Clifford, President of the Hull and District Anglers Association. Two large metal gates have been ‘unlawfully’ erected and locked across the road that runs between Thimblehall Lane and Canal Side West. The gates at both ends prevent anyone from using the road that has been in Public daily use for over 20 years. Signs on the gates declare it is a Private Road and that there is “No Unauthorised Access”. Local horse riders and even motorised scooters, used by some of Newport’s disabled residents, cannot get through the narrow gap that has been left.

A local resident commented, “Anglers seeking peace and tranquillity have been coming to Newport over many years for the excellent fishing in and around the village. They have always been welcome but that has now changed. By erecting these locked gates Mr Clifford (who lives nearby) has provoked a great deal of anger and hostility towards the Anglers and made them and the HDAA very unwelcome here.”

The boundary of the HDAA Motorway Pond can be clearly seen to the right of the road.

A spokesperson for Newport Parish Council said, “We have been negotiating with Mr Clifford for some time regarding the state of this road and this provocative action came out of the blue. This has incensed local residents who no longer have access to part of their village! Mr Clifford has made some speculative claims to own the road but has never been able to produce any evidence, despite several requests.”

An Extraordinary Meeting of Newport Parish Council was held last week in response to angry demands from villagers, to decide what action would be taken in regarding this unauthorised road closure. One of those actions was to refer the matter to East Riding Of Yorkshire Council’s Environment and Transport Overview and Scrutiny Committee”.

The road runs alongside the M62 and was originally built under an Act of Parliament during the construction of the M62 in the early 1970’s to allow access for residents and contractors but despite the fact that the road is listed by the Highways Agency and East Riding of Yorkshire Council (USRN 45911086) both deny any responsibility for maintaining it. It seems that this tactic of denying responsibility (“we can’t find the records”) is happening across the region as more authorities seek to cut costs on even the most basic maintenance of roads.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

After the horse has bolted?

On Tuesday (24th July) work began on one of the blocked dykes taking surface water from Gilberdyke to the river at Blacktoft as shown on previous post. Credit should be given to the Lower Ouse Internal Drainage Board for not procrastinating on this issue, but it should be acknowledged that this is somewhat after the 'horse has bolted' and there are still serious issues with the other dykes leading from Gilberdyke.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Flooding - Have your say!

The East Riding of Yorkshire Council and other agencies involved is to undertake reviews in order to learn as much as possible from the recent flooding events. This will guide the various statutory agencies, including the ERYC, on improvements both to the drainage infrastructure, as well as refining emergency plans and procedures for the future. These reviews will be focused in two ways; firstly on the way in which the various agencies dealt with the emergency and secondly a review of the broader aspects, including the infrastructure issues identified above.

Many of you as individuals and organisations within our community may have observations and suggestions that they wish to put forward to be considered as part of these reviews. I would welcome any contributions of this kind as part of the data gathering stage for the reviews. In discussions with local residents within a number of communities over the past 2 or 3 weeks there are a number of residents, farmers or others who may have a valuable contribution to make in this regard.

I will be collating and passing on all those comments from people with whom I’ve already spoken, or received emails/letters, but I would welcome any further comments, observations or suggestions.

If you wish to send comments, observations and suggestions to me by post at the following address: Cllr Paul Robinson, East Riding of Yorkshire Council, County Hall, Beverley, HU17 9BA.
or by email to:

Alternatively if you wish to share your comments by submitting a post - please click on the comments icon below.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

ERYC Cabinet Backs Howden Weight Limit Deferment Option

With fellow Howdenshire Councillor Doreen Engall at the Bubwith Crossroads

The hard work by Howdenshire residents, Local Ward Councillors Doreen Engall, Paul Robinson, & Charlie Bayram paid off, recently the East Riding of Yorkshire Council's Cabinet agreed with our suggestion and decided to defer a decision on the issue of extending the Howden Weight Limit, and ask ERYC officers to look into a permanent solution by constructing a link road, to be funded by an off site contribution from the future development of the land north of Howden, possibly bringing forward the projected 2 to 3 years timescale.
Cllr Paul Robinson comments, "I feel a permanent solution to ALL HGVs travelling along Howden’s Flatgate must be found and the decision made by the ERYC Cabinet is a positive step in achieving this goal. To have approved the proposal to extend the weight limit to Howden's Flatgate would have re-routed HGVs through rural Howdenshire villages, not only HOSM, but Bubwith, Spaldington, and Foggathorpe, in effect passing the problem from one community onto others, but would have also had a detrimental effect on both the businesses who would have to have had to foot the extra fuel costs and increased travelling times, and the wider community with the increased emissions associated with lorries travelling the extra distances. This clearly did not fit with the ERYC policy of reducing emissions through reduced journeys.This decision also gives the added advantage of not only taking all HGVs out of the town of Howden but will allow a direct route to the Press Association car park ‘proposed’ for the North of the town, removing even more traffic from Howden’s Flatgate".

Cllr Paul Robinson (Howdenshire) 17th July 2007

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Gilberdyke's Flooding Problems - A Way Forward?

Regarding the flooding in Gilberdyke, not only over the recent weeks, but something evidence suggests has been ongoing and getting steadily worse over the last 30 years or so. “I feel it is now time to look at a positive approach to permanently alleviate Gilberdyke’s flooding problems, as the effect of global warming increases the frequency”.

A great quantity of the recent floodwater was pumped through the foul water drainage system, which is not designed for or capable of moving large amounts of water quickly. This is one of the reasons many residents suffered with floodwater, and blocked drains for many days after the initial rainfall. Gilberdyke Primary School remained closed not because of direct flooding or damage - but simply because the toilets could not be flushed as a result of the foul water drains being full, not withstanding the Yorkshire Water pumping station working constantly for a number of days.

“Although Gilberdyke has surface water drainage problems within the village boundary resulting from dykes being blocked, some having been filled in by developers and householders, and houses built lower than the roads. The evidence shows that it doesn’t really matter what work is done to the surface water drains within the confines of the village, the water will not drain from the village to the River”.

The area south of the railway, including the dykes in front of the farms on Bellasize Lane, into which the surface water from the west side of Gilberdyke discharges were also found to be flooded, with water across the road in places. “Ironically at the same time the 3 large dykes running down to the River Ouse had a normal level of water at the river end, this raises the question of whether these dykes were not blocked or badly maintained (the evidence of the photographs below would indicate this may be the case). It was also noticeable that a number of fields were flooded in the Bellasize and Bennetland areas and south towards the river; therefore it is clearly not just householders who are suffering but also farmers who were estimated to have had 3,500 acres under water”.

Mr Robin Sweeting in last week’s letters section of the Goole Times raised an interesting point, with which I totally agree. “It is unacceptable for Gilberdyke residents to be knee deep in flood water within their homes, because the section where a major dyke enters the river, cannot be cleaned of silt build up for the sake of protecting some reed beds. If these reed beds are so precious - dig them up and move them or let Natural England and/or the Environment Agency come and explain to Gilberdyke residents exactly why not”!

I’m led to believe there is a Lower Ouse Internal Drainage Board proposal for improving the flow of surface water from Gilberdyke and the land south to the river that was generated over 10 years ago. This includes plans for a new cross dyke to bring the main dykes together, deepening and regrading of existing dykes, and the installation of a pumping station, similar to the one exiting at Yokefleet, to pump the water up and over into the river. The effect of this would be to ensure surface water drains quickly from Gilberdyke and the surrounding communities.

I would like to offer my total support for moving forward on this proposal, or a variation, as soon as possible. I have mentioned this to my ERYC colleagues who are supportive. There would appear to be two main issues in moving this forward, obtaining the landowners permission for the project and seeking funding. I am led to believe that the landowners would be receptive to the project; therefore the big issue would be the funding, which may not be so difficult, especially with the support of farmers and the community as a whole. An amount of say £1 million could be obtained if there is the will, and at this time there is no doubt a considerable amount of will.

To become reality this project must first have the support of the Lower Ouse Internal Drainage Board without which there would be no possibility of moving forward. The Drainage Board must then take a lead on this, working together with Environment Agency, the communities affected, and the local councillors, and MEPs to make this reality.

I have spoken to Local MP David Davis, who also supports this proposal saying, “This is a very interesting idea that I would be willing to support as part of a wider reaching strategy to address the issue of flooding in Howdenshire and across the East Riding of Yorkshire”

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

One of Gilberdyke's Main Drainage Dykes (now and in 1970)

Could this be one of the reasons the flood water was slow to drain from Gilberdyke recently?

Little Clough between Blacktoft and Yokefleet, looking from the River Ouse towards Gilberdyke pictured now and also c1970...........

....and looking towards the River Ouse....

....and this is how it was done then

For Lower Ouse Internal Drainage Board click

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Flooded Yorkshire Needs Government Money Not Excuses

The lack of Government money forthcoming for the victims of flooding comes as no surprise, after all Yorkshire has suffered some of the lowest investment in roads over recent years, and or course our East Riding schools have suffered with the fourth and fifth worst education funding in the country during past two years.

It is no thanks to the Government (with its majority of urban MPs) that our East Riding of Yorkshire Council manages to cope in the circumstances like which we’ve seen over the last two weeks - it is credit to the Council itself.

In the aftermath of this flooding I’m sure lessons will be learnt. I will be urging the ERYC to look at ways Parish Councils can be brought into flood prevention and damage limitation. E.g. it may be that Parish Councils can keep stocks of empty sandbags in the future, and make sure that those people who are old, infirm or less able are known and can be helped by teams of more able volunteers from within the community.

It is possible that there still remain some residents who need further help and if any member of the public is aware of someone requiring assistance then they are asked to contact the East Riding of Yorkshire Council via the Floodline, (01482)393399, or by visiting one of the ERYC customer service centres.

Monday, July 02, 2007

20 tonne Sand Mountain Donated to Gilberdyke

Gilberdyke Residents filling makeshift sandbags

Local Quarry Humberside Aggregates of North Cave came to the rescue of Gilberdyke, North Cave and Howden by donating and delivering 20 tonnes of sand to each community. Residents were then able to fill makeshift sand bags to protect their homes against the further rains of the weekend. Cllr Charlie Bayram and I managed to locate a small quantity of empty sandbags which we delivered to the most vulnerable properties in North Cave and Gilberdyke. In Gilberdyke no more than a wheelbarrow full of sand remained after 6 hours of the sand being delivered.

On a personal note "It was humbling to see the tremendous spirit of the Gilberdyke residents working together during the crisis, the able helping the not so able, all hands to the few pumps that the housholders had bought, borrowed or hired, and most especially with all the makeshift sandbags"

Council Tax Rebate For Flood Victims

As a result of the recent flooding, many Howdenshire residents have had to leave their homes. In these circumstances, residents can apply for a council tax exemption, which means they will not have to pay council tax on the affected property for an initial period of up to six months.

Where properties have been structurally damaged and in need of major repairs, and residents are unable to live in their homes after six months, then a further exemption can be claimed for an additional six months.

In order to claim an exemption, properties must be unoccupied due to flood damage.

Anyone wishing to claim an exemption can telephone Billing and Collection on (01482) 394747 or call into their local customer service centre.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The disappearance of Gilberdyke's dykes

Flooding in Gilberdyke

The recent rainfall has caused numerous problems for Howdenshire residents from, Aughton in the North, through Holme on Spalding Moor, Bubwith and Wressle to Gilberdyke, North Cave and Blacktoft in the South.

Curiously the River Ouse was not particularly high at noon today (26th June) and one of the large commissioner dykes was not flowing particularly fast at the river end, but at the other end of these dykes many parts of Gilberdyke are under anything up to 300mm of surface water. I remember when growing up in the area the dykes were regularly cleaned each spring by the local farmers, my grandfather was fond of the saying ‘February fill dyke, March muck ‘em out’. But where are those dykes now? Developers or residents have filled in many, and of those that do remain they are seldom ‘mucked out’. So perhaps we should heed the warnings of the past two days, and have the original dykes reopened and those dykes that still remain ‘mucked out’

To compound the situation of this surface water has also been contaminated with sewage, as the Yorkshire Water sewage pumping station does not appear able to cope with the extra loading resulting from surface water entering the system.

I seem to recall residents of Gilberdyke being told by Yorkshire Water that the system could cope with the present demand, also for increased housing and to still have slack in the system - based on the evidence of yesterday and today, perhaps the Company would like to reconsider?

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Local Labour MP rejoices whilst the East Riding suffers more NHS cuts

Whilst it is very nice, following a number of NHS cuts locally, to see some improved services coming to Goole hospitals I do not feel the rejoicing by Local Labour MP Mr Cawsey in last week's Goole Times told the full story. I think it is worth pointing out that the Primary Care Trust reorganisation across the East Riding has caused great concern in many communities elsewhere such as Driffield, Beverley, Hornsea and Withernsea wherein local residents have taken to the streets in an attempt to protect the loss of beds and the closure of wards at their local hospitals. Whilst it is good news that new services will be coming to Goole it is a shame they are at the expense of health services in other parts of East Yorkshire.

It is as a direct result of his Government’s health policies we have seen the loss of the Rivers Ward at the Goole Hospital, the proposed closure of the Bartholomew House Unit in Goole, a reduction in the out of hours GP cover at Goole Hospital and the negative re-organisation of the midwifery team at Goole Hospital who now have to cover a much larger area with fewer staff.

Mr Cawsey would be well advised to remember that whilst improvements to our local hospital is undoubtedly good news for Goole, there are still people in Hornsea, Driffield and Withernsea who are desperately fighting the PCT’s proposals to remove hospital beds and his government should be doing more to secure facilities for ALL our communities.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Howden Weight Limit Extension Proposals

The following are my comments on the proposed Howden Weight Limit Extension Proposals to be discussed at the meeting of the ERYC Cabinet in July 2007

The problem with HGVs in Howden appears to be two fold:

(a) Those vehicles travelling to and from the industrial estate at Breighton Airfield

(b) Those vehicles using the B1228 as a short cut to and from York

The proposal is designed to prevent the latter and also prevent those HGVs leaving the Breighton Airfield from travelling North to the York ring road, and from the ring road South to the Airfield and Howden.

The preferred option to be presented appears to allow HGV traffic movements through Howden to the Breighton Industrial Estate and up to the A163 but does not allow HGV movements any further North to the River Derwent, thus preventing HGVs using this as a direct route between Howden and York. This route is not the most direct, easiest or quickest route between Howden and York, for HGVs travelling to or from the M62, Hull, Howdendyke or Goole, so why are drivers using this route especially since the Selby Bypass has been open since the summer of 2004, which was over a year after the traffic count on which this proposal is based was carried out.

To impose this new weight limit on the road North of Breighton Airfield Industrial Estate to prevent HGVs taking a short cut to or from York via Howden is in my opinion ill thought out, with little consideration for the consequences or the impact on other communities. The proposal would ensure that the HGVs leaving the Industrial Estate are re-routed to travel through other Howdenshire villages having a detrimental impact on the communities of Bubwith, Harlthorpe, Foggathorpe and Holme on Spalding Moor. Those HGVs that are prevented from travelling to and from York though Howden will also be re-routed through these Howdenshire villages.

The beneficiaries of the proposal would appear to number relatively few and be limited to those residents of Howden’s Flatgate and Station Road, but the people who would suffer the adverse effects number many. These would include residents of Bubwith’s Main Street and Highfield Road, residents living alongside the A163 running through Harlthorpe and Foggathorpe and those residents of HOSM’s Selby Road, High Street, Howden Road and Market Weighton Road. Many residents of these communities already complain about the present number of HGV movements through the villages, feeling that the speeds and sheer numbers are damaging the roads and present a danger to pedestrians and other road users, and also damage roadside buildings.

It is also worth noting that the Flatgate entrance to Howden School is now closed therefore there are few school children walking along the side of this road. Conversely if one looks at Holme on Spalding Moor School, many parents park on High Street and Selby Road, children walk to school on the footpath alongside High Street and Selby Road, and children are encouraged to cycle to school along this route – is this a section of road onto which we really want to be diverting more HGVs?

This proposal should not be looked at in isolation, for example it is essential that future plans for the Gallymoor Site at Holme on Spalding Moor be taken into account; after all if the site capacity is increased or there are changes of use it will inevitably result in increased HGV movements along the A163.

I respectfully suggest that, as of today, this proposal is based on figures that are outdated, inaccurate and not a true reflection of the present situation as a result of the Selby by-pass, with a significant number of HGVs from the M62 travelling between Howden and York now using the A19. If this is not the case then perhaps the issue is more to do with signage from the M62 at the A19 junction or satellite navigation systems sending HGVs through Howden. This is something perhaps the ERYC can discuss with North Yorkshire Council and make representations to the companies that provide the software for satellite navigation systems. I am assuming that the results of a further traffic count carried out to determine the HGV movements as of now, with the Selby by-pass in operation, rather than using the outdated figures prior to the by-pass, are to be presented to the Cabinet.

A comprehensive risk assessment must also be carried out to determine what additional dangers are going to be created in Howdenshire villages, and how they can be addressed should such a weight limit be created as proposed.

My preferred Option

My Preferred option would be to construct a Northern link from Selby Road to Station Road as part of a future development (where a developer foots the bill), this would be a solution that has few negatives. This would be dependent on future development of the land North of Howden, with this land likely to be released within the next 2 to 3 years as confirmed by ERYC Strategic Development Services (highways). This option would also have the added advantage of not only take HGVs out of the town but would also allow a direct route to the Press Association car park ‘proposed’ for the North of Howden, removing even more traffic from Howden’s Flatgate. This could also be linked to a ‘Park and Ride’ bus from the Railway Station. The 2 to 3 year timescale for this land being released must be factored into the decision making process, especially if this could be brought forward.

In conclusion

To re-route HGVs through rural villages not only passes the problem from one community onto others but also has a detrimental effect on both the businesses who have to foot the extra fuel costs and increased travelling times, and the wider community with the increased emissions associated with lorries travelling the extra distances. Does this fit with the ERYC policy of reducing emissions through reduced journeys?

The option to have a link road constructed as part of a future development North of Howden within the 2 to 3 year timescale would be the solution that benefits all.

Cllr Paul Robinson (Howdenshire) 6th June 2007

Monday, May 28, 2007

The First 3 Weeks ......

My first 3 weeks as an East Riding of Yorkshire Councillor has passed, the experience has been terrific – after the fantastic election result over the whole of the East Riding, the Council is now firmly under Conservative Control meaning that there are as many new members as existing members, so I’m not the only ‘new kid’. As a new member I have been made to feel very welcome not only by the existing members, but the group officers, ERYC officers and staff… which does make things so much easier.

I've been asked to sit on a number of ERYC Committees, including:

Strategic Planning,
Safer and Stronger Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee,
Corporate Issues Overview and Scrutiny Committee,
Staff Appeals Committee
The Authority Wide Joint Consultative Committee

and the ‘Think Tank’ -

Howdenshire consists of 15 Parishes, all having Parish Councils, seven of which I managed to attend their monthly meetings during May. I hope to attend the remaining Parish Councils during their meetings held over the next month.

I have had numerous telephone calls, emails and letters from Howdenshire Residents regarding a variety of issues, attending to which is probably the most important part of my new role, and something that I enjoy.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those Howdenshire Residents who voted on May 3rd. Rest assured that I will strive do my best in representing you whether you voted for me, or for another, or didn’t or couldn’t vote. If you feel I can be of assistance or help in any way please do not hesitate to contact me at:

Friday, May 04, 2007

Howdenshire has a Brand New Conservative Councillor

Many thanks to all of you that turned out to vote for me yesterday.... subsequently, Howdenshire has a Brand New Conservative Councillor.... Many, many thanks to my wife, my daughter, family and friends for putting up with everything over the last few months. Also my team and supporters without which this would never have happened. Special mention to Charlie and Linda Bayram who deserve their victory also. I would also like to publicly thank my opponents for their conduct and support during the campaign and especially at last night's count.....

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Out with the Local Police

Paul outside the Gilberdyke Youth Building

There have been a number of complaints from Gilberdyke and Howden regarding anti-social behaviour particularly on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Paul Robinson says, “As a member of the multi-agency team recently formed to deal with problems of teenagers and anti-social behaviour I was asked to spend a Friday evening with the local Police in the area.

From talking to young people over the past years I am aware that alcohol is very much part of the lives of many, and as a member of the Howden Neighbourhood Police Panel and the Neighbourhood Action Team, I am also very much aware of the connection between alcohol and much of the anti-social behaviour.

During the evening we talked to a large number of teenagers from not only Gilberdyke, but from Newport, Eastrington and Howden, from as far away as Brough and Hull, and a number from Goole. The young people explained that they came to Gilberdyke because they had friends from school living in the village and they felt comfortable here even though there were limited things to do, and those from Goole felt safe here as they were not bullied or intimidated as they were in Goole.

Needless to say an amount of alcohol was seized and confiscated, along with soft drinks suspected of having being laced with alcohol. We were told by youngsters that they are unable to buy alcohol from the Supermarket or the Garage in the village as the assistants are vigilant, but they get alcohol from home and some older friends do buy for them.

The relationship that the teenagers have with the Police appeared to be very good, especially with our local PCSO Alison Pearson, which is very positive and bodes well for the future. There was an isolated instance of foul and abusive language directed at the Police following the seizure of alcohol which led to the teenager being taken home to their parents and a fixed penalty fine being issued.

The young people had concerns about some ‘thugs’ from out of the village (mostly from Goole) who periodically come over to Gilberdyke in cars or by train with the intent of causing trouble. This had led to some violence and anti-social behaviour.

Many Gilberdyke residents have told me they feel uncomfortable seeing a large group of some 30 teenagers congregating around the shops, at the railway station or walking down the street, with the size of the group being intimidating. This is understandable. PCSO Alison Pearson and I have agreed to have a meeting with the Gilberdyke teenagers in the next couple of weeks, to explain people’s concerns and see what the young people can do to reduce these. We will also look at ways of engaging the young people on Friday and Saturday evenings”.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The unacceptable stink over Howdenshire Villages

Having spoken to many people over the last six months or so in HOSM, Spaldington, Eastrington, Bubwith and Wressle – one of the issues that has been constantly brought to our attention is the horrible smells drifting over local communities when the wind is in a certain direction, and when spreading (of what is assumed to be composted material) has been carried out on surrounding fields.

Although numerous people sought to add that they are not adverse to country smells, but the smells experienced are more than what is to be expected.It is widely acknowledged that composting is a positive step in reducing landfill - and if done correctly there is an acceptable smell associated with the process and the spreading of the composted material, but if not the smells can be severe.

We have a situation in Howdenshire where many composters have set up in a localised area, (some of which cause the obnoxious odours) with the cumulative impact on those communities being unacceptable, it is ruining people’s quality of life... and something must be done.

Your concerns appear to be in a number of areas; not only the smell associated with the composting process and the spreading of the composted materials on farmland. Damage is caused to narrow country lanes by the transportation of the composted material to the fields, and also the issue of HGV traffic through villages delivering the raw materials to the composting facilities.

"I feel that it is essential that all composting sites be regulated, with the responsibility for this regulation being with Environment Agency, which issue permits for each facility. Composting sites must then be inspected regularly to make sure there is compliance with the strict conditions imposed.

We must work with the composters, the Environment Agency and ERYC Public Protection to improve the present situation. It is not acceptable for composting to have such a negative impact of people’s quality of life, where they cannot open their windows or go outside, and clothes have to be re-washed to take away the smell".

In the short term the most important thing when you notice the smell is for as many people as possible to report this directly to the Environment Agency Emergency Hotline on: 0800 807060 (insisting that your call is logged), and it would be helpful to also inform ERYC Public Protection on 01482 396209

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Gilberdyke Parish Council to invest in leisure facilities

Gilberdyke Parish Council has been offered approx. 35 acres of land surrounding the Ings View sports field. The existing site, on which the present sports facilities and Scout group are located was purchased by the Parish Council through the council precept in 1992, and is let to the Gilberdyke & District Leisure Assn (GDLA) and the Scouts for a peppercorn rent of £1 per year.

The Parish Council decided to proceed with the purchase of the land for further community leisure facilities (subject to conditions) and is due to enter negotiations with the landowner in the near future. Due to the relatively short timeframe it was agreed that the initial option be to purchase the additional land using the same method as the original site, by obtaining a mortgage and repaying through the precept, but at the same time looking for matched funding from external agencies.

It was a difficult decision for the Parish Council as it was a ‘one off opportunity’, but many members of the community have indicated that they would like more facilities for leisure especially for young people. Once the purchase of the land has gone through it will be up to the community to decide what facilities are required, but there is already an identified need for additional football pitches, but it may be that specific youth projects such as a BMX track or off road motorcycling can be accommodated.

In the short term this means an increase in the Council Tax for Gilberdyke residents, but the result will be an investment in something tangible for the community, and long lasting for future generations.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Gilberdyke Groups take CONCRETE ACTION!

With Carl Walton & the Gilberdyke Volunteers
with 'yet another load' of concrete

A great example of cooperation in Gilberdyke has produced a result of which the community can be very proud. At last the road to Ings View Sports Field has been resurfaced, which will make access throughout the year much easier for the public, local sports teams and visitors.

The work has been thanks to a partnership between local agencies, business and groups who committed many hours to get the work done in the shortest time possible. Gilberdyke Parish Council's new funding advisor Charlotte Hursey worked to obtain £3000 from Howdenshire Forward's Rural Target Fund which was then matched by the Parish Council to fund the project. The Parish Council then worked with Gilberdyke and District Leisure Association (GDLA) and its member groups to ensure that the project was completed before the end of the financial year.

Pat Colley, Chairperson of the GDLA said, "Sincere thanks go to all those who helped over the last couple of weeks, and for the generosity of local businesses including; Evans Timber who donated wood for shuttering, 1-2Clear who loaned part of their workforce for 4 days, Poplar Gardens who provided a truck and dumper with drivers, and Viking Builders who orchestrated the final delivery and pouring of concrete".

Parish Council Chairman, Paul Robinson, "It has been a real privilege to witness the progress from start to finish, and the end result proves just what can be achieved when members of a community work together. It has been hard work but really worth it. A particular mention should be made of Carl Walton of Homecare who took a week off work to lead the teams of volunteers and has been present and working hard over the entire project."

Special thanks are also due for the effort of volunteers from the football club, other groups who use the Ings View facilities and the members of the local workforce who performed so many tasks: from preparing the road to providing drinks.

Gilberdyke residents are invited to pay Ings View a visit, especially if they have never been before. They can now reach the sports field from the main road in comfort and will now find it easier to take part in activities there including: outdoor bowls, cricket, football and Scouts.

For further details of GDLA, its long term plans and how to help with future community projects, please contact Pat Colley on 01430 441449 or Paul Robinson on 01430 440659.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Increased HGV fears for Howdenshire villages

With fellow Conservative candidate Doreen Engall on the A163 into Bubwith

The ERYC proposed weight limit from Breighton Airfield Northwards would have a detrimental impact on our Howdenshire communities with HGVs that are prevented from travelling from Howden being re-routed through the villages of Bubwith, Foggathorpe, HOSM and Spaldington. It seems crazy to pass on the problems of heavy lorries passing through Howden onto other communities with little thought for the consequences. It is folly to even consider this when the Police, who have more experience than most, don’t even support this proposal.

The problem with HGVs in Howden appears to consist of those vehicles travelling to the industrial estate at Breighton Airfield and those using the B1228 as a short cut to York.

The option (which is also on the table) is to surely construct a Northern Link around Howden to take the traffic either directly from Selby Road to the West or from the HOSM Road from the East. This would not only take HGVs out of the town but would also allow a direct route to the proposed Press Association car park planned for the North of Howden, removing even more traffic from Howden’s Flatgate. If a link is constructed to join Selby Road to Howden’s Station Road a further advantage would be in the road actually shielding Howden from the flooding we have seen coming from the North in the recent past, and which is predicted to become worse.

To reroute HGVs through rural villages not only passes the problem from one community onto others but has a detrimental effect on both the businesses who have to foot the cost of extra fuel costs and increased travelling times, and the wider community with the increased emissions associated with lorries travelling the extra distances.

Puddled Painters on Gilberdyke's Broad Lane

Gilberdyke Parish Council consulted the inhabitants of Wades Cottages and other properties along Broad Lane and developed the proposal to include double yellow lines marked along both sides of Broad Lane from the bottom of the Railway Bridge to the far entrance to the industrial estate, with a large parking bay running the full length of Wades Cottages. The parking bay being solely for the use of inhabitants and visitors to the cottages. The Parish Council also requested that the verge on the west side of the road be made good. Consultation was also carried out with GB industries, the owners of Britspace and Gateway Fabrications, who committed a sum of money to East Riding of Yorkshire Council to pay for the yellow lines and hopefully speed up the process.

“Last week, all seemed to be well when neat, straight yellow lines appeared on the East side of the road and the residents happy. A few days later disaster struck, the lines on the West side of the road were laid after a period of sustained rainfall, unfortunately it appears in their wisdom the contractors tried to lay the yellow lines through the resulting puddles. Now the yellow lines are broken with sections missing were the puddles were, and flecks of yellow paint decorate the roadside. Coupled with this, the verge on the West side of the road has not been reinstated and a number of potholes still exist”.

“This is clearly not acceptable and we will be pushing ERYC Highways to ensure that the yellow lines are redone correctly, and every effort is made to repair the potholes and reinstate the verge”.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Damage, Vandalism & Intimidation at Gilberdyke's disused Railway Hotel

Picture courtesy of the Goole Times

The issue of the Railway Hotel in Gilberdyke has been a concern for local residents as well as Gilberdyke Parish Council since the pub closed a number of years ago. The building was repeatedly vandalised until being boarded up with secure steel sheeting about a year ago which has reduced this. We are told that the building is alarmed and inspected internally and externally on a weekly basis. Needless to say this has not stopped a small minority of the village youth congregating around the building causing a nuisance and engaging in anti social behaviour. These young people are perceived as a threat to many, especially rail users, householders, and older people who feel intimidated.

“For the very few individuals who persist with these acts of wanton damage, vandalism, and intimidation that we have seen occasionally around this building, the only answer is the full force of the law, with the community supporting the Police in their actions”.

“I feel the time is rapidly approaching where the owners need to make a decision regarding the future of this building, to either refurbish and reopen as a public house or find an alternative use”.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Gilberdyke's Broad Lane to get Double Yellow Lines

The East Riding of Yorkshire Council have now confirmed that Broad Lane, Gilberdyke is to get double Yellow lines along both sides of the road, from the top of the railway bridge to a point after the Warburton’s Site, with a parking bay outside of Wades Cottages.

“The road had effectively become a single line track for a distance of over a quarter of a mile meaning that vehicles frequently met in this section, with vehicles having to reverse to allow the oncoming vehicles to pass. This is great news for the residents of Broad Lane, as well for those road users from Blacktoft, Yokefleet, and Faxfleet who have been inconvenienced for too long”

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Funding for new Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs)

With Shadow Home Secretary and local MP David Davis
outside Howden Local Policing Team Station

Funding for new PCSOs

Today (Tuesday), Humberside Police Authority decided to fund the 33% short fall in funding by Central Government to enable the planned increase in Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) to go ahead in the East Riding of Yorkshire, as part of the neighbourhood-policing programme.

“As Chairman of Gilberdyke Parish Council and member of the Howden Neighbourhood Policing Panel - I recognise that one of the issues we face is crime, with many people unhappy with the service provided by the police, and fearful of crime. It is quite clear the police need to be seen, and to regain people’s trust. The role of the PCSO is very much community based and probably the nearest thing we’re going to get to a ‘Local Bobby’ on our streets”.

“This funding is very good news, and may well go a long way in allowing people to feel comfortable calling and dealing with the police. I look forward to seeing this type of high visibility, Police presence in Gilberdyke, and our neighbouring villages as a minimum requirement, to reduce the fear of crime as well as crime itself”.

Friday, February 09, 2007


With fellow candidate Charlie Bayram
visiting Gilberdyke School

As a parent of a child at Gilberdyke School as well as the Chair of the School Governors Paul Robinson says “The Labour Government provided East Riding schools with the fourth and fifth worst education funding in the country during past two years. An average East Riding pupil in the school year 2007/08 will receive £464 less than an average pupil in Hull thanks to this Central Government under-funding our local schools.

Despite the fifth worst funding in the country our schools are among the top 10% best performing in the country. It is no thanks to the Government (with its majority of urban MPs) that our rural schools are doing so well, it is down to the dedication of our local teachers, support staff and pupils who, despite Labour’s appalling under-funding, perform brilliantly year on year.
The East Riding Council is in a difficult position. Either it makes cuts to local services or it raises council tax. In the past ALL parties have agreed to protect local services rather than introduce massive cuts to those vital services".

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Howdenshire Forward Learning Lab Project

To work with young people and local sport was selected as a lead priority by Howdenshire Forward. Paul Robinson, Chairman of Howdenshire Forward’s Leisure, Recreation and Culture programme says, “This area was prioritised by the organisation, as it is in tune with what people are telling us, and issues concerning young people have been highlighted in many surveys and Parish Plans conducted in Gilberdyke, Newport, and other Howdenshire villages”.
Paul Continues, “We must consult the young people of our communities and the schools are best placed to facilitate this. We must determine what the young people want, what motivates them, what doesn't etc. Any survey questions or research needs to be well thought through to get under the skin of what they are really thinking and presented to them in a format that is fun. The learning Lab project Soundscape project fitted neatly into what Howdenshire Forward is trying to achieve”.

The Learning Lab Soundscape project carried out at Howden School aimed to provide ten students from Year 10 with the technical and creative skills with which to build a soundscape of their town.

Howden, and more particularly the students’ perception of Howden, formed the starting point for the soundscape itself. It should be emphasised that the 5 – 10 minute soundscape is a creative work of sound art. The focus of the piece is the sounds themselves; it was dependant on choice of clips made by the students and how they were fragmented, repeated or layered. The exercise was concerned with dynamics, ambience, rhythm, tension and release, rather than conveying a particular meaning or specific statement about the town. The project included introducing the students to mini disc field recording, along with exposure to ideas about public and private spaces, and a listening walk, which encouraged a heightened awareness of everyday sounds that our brain usually relegates to the background. Field recording provided the bulk of recorded material for the soundscape, in addition to this, two student groups made use of the mini disk recorders after school, in order to capture more of the sounds that they experience in Howden during evening hours, as well as in their home environment.

Finally the students selected and combined the sounds recorded; by the end of the project the students had created a visual plan of their soundscape.

With regard to how the project will contribute to Howdenshire Forward initiatives, it is hoped to use recorded material, which is left in a less edited format to present alongside the more abstract soundscape. This material includes interviews of the students giving their impressions of Howden and some of their suggestions about how the town environment and facilities might be improved.

“I was struck by the students’ engagement with the soundscape project, as well as by their overwhelmingly positive view of their town and community. The students have contributed intelligent and well articulated views, and with a wide range of interests within the group - from drama and music to sport and outdoor activities – these students would make an essential contribution to any debate about the future of Howden. Hopefully, the soundscape project will be the start of a longer process of consultation with the young people of the town”.

The Learning Lab is a programme of Integreat Yorkshire, part funded by the Academy for Sustainable Communities, to work alongside Howden as part of Yorkshire Forwards Renaissance Programme.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Paul with Charlie Bayram in Newport


The East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Local Development Framework for smaller settlements (LDF) document has identified the villages of Newport and Gilberdyke as ‘market villages’. The direct consequence of this is that over the next 10 to 15 years significant industrial and housing development will be directed towards our villages. The LDF consultation process takes very little notice of the views of residents or the Newport Village Plan, and appears to ignore completely whether important services and facilities in the villages can cope with increased development

Paul Robinson states, “The recent survey as well as the Newport Parish Plan established that many of you wish to see only limited (in fill) housing in the village, of those who wish to see further housing, many say it should be of an affordable type, to allow young people in the village the chance of their own homes, without having to move out of the community. However the combined impact of further development, in both villages, and the consequence of through traffic is highly significant and detrimental for Newport “.

Paul continues, “In Gilberdyke previous planning decisions seem to have been made without properly considering the consequences on important factors such as heavy traffic movements through both Gilberdyke and Newport from the industrial estate, and traffic congestion near the shops and the Health Centre. Further developments will compound these problems.

“This is probably the most important issue faced by the communities of Newport and Gilberdyke in recent times, and could have a serious detrimental effect on both communities over the next 10 to 15 years, and more. We need to send out a clear message to the East Riding of Yorkshire Council planners that enough is enough, and that there is no support from the local communities for the levels of development that the council intends to impose on us”.

“We must show planners that there is no consent to support their plans, and local people want to be part of local decision-making, and those in power who ignore this, do so at their peril”

“I am committed to ensuring that your voices are heard on this issue, we have to learn from the past where our voices have not be heard, and make sure that future developments do not impinge on those things that are important to us, and what we value as being part of village life.”