Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Bats resurrect social club at Tophill Low

An East Yorkshire social club where last orders were called in the 1970’s has been resurrected as a thriving meeting place once more – by hundreds of tiny bats.

The winged socialites had descended on the disused building at our Tophill Low Nature Reserve near Driffield to meet, roost and give birth to their young – which are being born now as we enter into spring.

And the presence of over 500 of the mammals in the structure has led the revival of the once-popular thriving night spot in miniature form for the mammals.

In 1959 the building was opened as a social club for workers at the Yorkshire Water treatment works, which supplies drinking water to Hull, offering patrons a bar, pool table and even a cinema. It became a renowned local haunt hidden in the lanes of Watton Carrs, near Cranswick, and was a long way off the track of the licencing officer in its heyday!

It was a buzzing hub of activity until it was closed in the early 70’s as a result of increased automation on the neighbouring water treatment works. Despite being reincarnated as a visitor centre in 1993, it was felt the building needed to be demolished last year as repair costs were deemed to be too high.
However, some of the night time revellers remained in their very own ‘lock in’ - 200 soprano pipistrelle and 120 common pipistrelle bats plus their young in a tiny section of the roof.

Richard Hampshire, Warden at the Yorkshire Water-owned Tophill Low Nature Reserve, said: “It’s great to see the old social club getting a third lease of life and it’ll prove to be the perfect home to some of our large colony of bats.

“We won’t be restricting licencing hours this time so the venue will be open to the miniature revellers for years to come. We’ve quite a lunch menu with 536 species of moth recorded by volunteers since 1993, and bar snacks in the form of several million insects which arise from the reservoirs annually .

“We’ve even saved bat droppings from the old building to make it smell familiar.”
Bat roosts are heavily protected by Natural England and Driffield-based ecologists Wold Ecology drew up designs with input from East Yorkshire Bat Group to offer the animals a more stable home in the old boiler house. This allowed the demolition of the larger building, while keeping them as an asset for Yorkshire Water’s flagship nature reserve.

Tophill Low is currently undergoing an £8 million investment by Yorkshire Water in a treatment plant which will remove nitrates from the raw river water which supplies the site. Material from the excavations is being used to create new breeding islands for avocets and terns saving costs on landfill and helping wildlife.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

£2 million project to improve quality of water around Skipton area comes to an end

Customers in several villages around Skipton are now benefitting from improved water supply thanks to a large programme of work by Yorkshire Water at two local reservoirs. The essential work was carried out at two service reservoirs 9 miles apart, in West Marton and Hellifield, and cost over £2 million altogether. Engineering specialists, Mott MacDonald Bentley, took 12 months to replace the ageing reservoirs with new facilities. The original reservoir at Hellifield was built in 1985 and had weakened with age. It has been replaced with a more modern tank which can hold 1.1 megalitres of treated drinking water. The new Cranoe reservoir is smaller and can hold 250,000 litres of water. Both reservoirs supply Wigglesworth, Hellifield, Malham, Airton, Kirkby, Malham, Coniston Cold, West Marton and East Marton with treated drinking water. Yorkshire Water operates hundreds of supply reservoirs - most of which are underground - across the region. Varying in size, these underground tanks are used to store treated drinking water before it's fed through to customers' taps. Many have been in operation between 25 and 100 years and whilst they are regularly maintained, they don't last forever, with the oldest currently being replaced to make way for newer, stronger structures, which have the added bonus of further improving the quality of drinking water sent to taps. Dave Ellis, project manager for Yorkshire Water, comments: "Not only will these new tanks boost the reliability of our vast water supply network, but it will also ensure that customers in West Yorkshire continue to receive some of the best drinking water in the world." For more information on what Yorkshire Water is doing across the region, visit yorkshirewater.com

Monday, 27 January 2014

Leeds West MP visits Yorkshire Water’s fish passage project at Rodley

Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves visited Rodley Nature Reserve today to see a project by Yorkshire Water which is helping to improve the River Aire for Yorkshire’s wildlife. Yorkshire Water recently completed work on a by-pass channel around the Rodley weir , which has been preventing fish from passing upstream since its construction during the industrial revolution.

The new fish pass not only makes it easy for fish to travel around the weir, but provides a whole new stretch of river habitat for Yorkshire’s freshwater wildlife. Dr Kathryn Turner, Biodiversity Advisor for Yorkshire Water, explained that the company was working hard to improve the region’s rivers.

She said, “Yorkshire's long industrial history has meant that many of Yorkshire's rivers have man made obstacles such as pipes and weirs in them. They prevent migratory fish such as salmon traveling to and from their breeding grounds. “As owners of many of these structures we are working hard to find ways to allow fish and other wildlife to return to their historical breeding grounds whilst building new habitat for Yorkshire’s freshwater wildlife.”

Between 2015 and 2020 Yorkshire Water will be working on a further 28 barriers to fish passage projects, an investment of over £10 million to open up our rivers and upland streams to the free movement of migrating and local fish.

Visiting the site Rachel Reeves MP said, “It’s great to see Yorkshire Water investing in projects like this which help to improve the local environment. Rodley Nature Reserve is a popular site for local people and this project will provide real benefits for the biodiversity of the site and beyond.”

During the visit Rachel Reeves also discussed Yorkshire Water’s investment plans for 2015 to 2020, which were recently submitted to industry regulator Ofwat for approval. The plans will see Yorkshire Water investing £3.8bn to deliver clean, safe drinking water, protect the environment and deliver great customer service, while keeping customer’s bills in line with inflation.

Rachel Reeves said, “It is good hear that Yorkshire Water is continuing to invest in the things that matter to customers and I was particularly pleased that they have recognised the need to keep customer’s bills low. Many people are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis, and knowing that their water bills will be kept in line with inflation until 2020 will be a real boost.”

More information about the work at Rodley can be found here - http://www.yorkshirewater.com/our-environment/biodiversity/river-restoration-programme.aspx

Monday, 2 December 2013

Yorkshire Water announces lower than planned price rise for 2014 and prices in line with inflation for 2015-20

Yorkshire Water intends to take the financial pressure off the region's households as it announces customer bills will not be as high as planned for the next financial year. The company has also announced plans to keep bills at this lower level from 2015-20.

The company’s bills are already lower than the national average and it has committed to do even more in response to the financial pressure that households in Yorkshire are facing. But following concerns about rising household costs, it has decided not to push ahead with the planned 2014-15 price increase agreed with industry-regulator Ofwat in 2009.

This means that next year the average household bill in Yorkshire will be in line with the current rate of inflation, with the average bill being £373, £6 lower than planned. The company has also published plans on Monday to keep bills at this lower level from 2015-2020.

Richard Flint, Yorkshire Water's Chief Executive, said: "Over the last eighteen months, we have listened to the views of more than 30,000 customers to help shape where we invest over the next five years, and how that will impact on customer bills.

"Yorkshire Water bills are already lower than the national average but we are committed to doing even more to help our customers. The overwhelming message is that they don't want to see any deterioration in service but that they want us to keep bills as low as possible.

"We understand the pressures on households and that's why we're planning to keep bills in line with inflation for the next six years. This is a challenging plan that we are confident we'll deliver through prudent financial management, sharing company efficiencies with customers and by reducing our returns to investors.

"Of course, we still need to invest in essential equipment and maintenance in order to ensure we continue to provide our five million customers with the quality of service they expect, and we're committed to doing this by proposing to invest more than £3.8 billion between 2015 and 2020. This will also provide a welcome further boost to the regional economy."

Speaking about Yorkshire Water’s decision to keep average household bills in line with inflation next year, independent customer champion Andrea Cook, Consumer Council Water Regional Chair, said: "This customer-focused decision by Yorkshire Water to limit price increases for next year, at a time when consumers face economic pressures from all directions, is welcomed.

“Customers on low and fixed incomes struggle to keep up even with small bill increases and this will be of particular benefit to them. The decision reinforces that the benefits of improved performance can be shared by shareholders and customers alike."

Water companies are required to submit plans to Ofwat for approval that detail exactly where service and operational investments will be made over the five years from 2015, as well as what customers will be asked to pay.

The company believes that by becoming even more efficient and by reducing returns to investors it can ensure bills don't rise by more than inflation whilst it continues to spend more than £3.8 billion over the five year period. Yorkshire Water will focus on maintaining services and investing in the things that customers have said matter most to them. Customer priorities include ensuring drinking water remains of the highest quality and that homes are protected from flooding.

The plan also includes the costs of delivering significant new environmental obligations. To help customers get a feel for what the company is proposing, Yorkshire Water has created a website www.blueprintforyorkshire.com – to bring the plan to life. The website will be available from noon on Monday 2 December. The company has also published its interim results today and these are available on our website.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Yorkshire Water gathers views on £3.7bn investment plans

Yorkshire Water has announced plans to invest £3.7bn operating, maintaining and improving its water network in the region as part of its new five year business plan for 2015 to 2020.
The new plan, which the company is calling its ‘Blueprint for Yorkshire’, sets out how Yorkshire Water plans to face up to the many challenges facing the industry over the coming years including climate change, population growth and the need to protect the environment.
To help test its plans to meet those challenges the company gathered together politicians, businesses and environmental groups representing more than 80 different organisations from across the region at a special conference on the Yorkshire Event Centre in Harrogate on 30th July.  
At the conference delegates discussed a wide range of issues including the need for the region’s water network to withstand pressures from more frequent severe weather, the ability of Yorkshire Water to meet increasing demand for water and the challenges for the company in reducing its own water and energy usage.  
Dafydd Williams, Stakeholder Engagement Manager for Yorkshire Water, explained how the Blueprint had been developed, saying, “Before we started to develop our Blueprint for Yorkshire we carried out extensive consultation with customers and stakeholders to find out what their priorities are for the next five years. They gave us a clear steer about the things that matter to them most. Customers told us they want to ensure we provide clean water that is safe to drink, they want to be confident that supplies will always be available, they want to be safe from sewer flooding and they want us to protect and improve the water environment.”

“We recognise that many customers are struggling with increases in the cost of living and so while we look to invest in our network to meet future pressure, we are also committed to doing everything we can to keep bills low.”
Dafydd said that the stakeholder conference was an opportunity for organisations to further shape the company’s plans before they were finalised later this year. He said, “Having consulted with customers and stakeholders on their priorities before we started, we wanted to test our plan with them to see how well our Blueprint meets the challenges they set us.”
“The conference gave us the opportunity to gather together businesses, local authorities, investors and environmental groups to explain our plans and get their feedback. Our Blueprint for Yorkshire was well received and the feedback we gained will help to make it even stronger.”
As well as getting feedback from stakeholders on the Blueprint, Yorkshire Water is asking customers to have their say on the plans. Customers can find out more about what Yorkshire Water is planning and have their say through the customer consultation by visiting http://blueprintforyorkshire.com/.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Yorkshire Water partners to pump £1billion back in to the region

Yorkshire Water is this week announcing that its service partners will deliver in the region of £1billion pounds worth of work as part of its planned investment programme across Yorkshire.

Eight Contract Partners and three Framework Consultants* have received an extension of their agreement for the next Asset Management Period (AMP) 2015-2020, set to future-proof the company's treatment works against extreme weather conditions, help protect the local environment and continue to guarantee a secure supply of drinking water.

Nevil Muncaster Director of Asset Delivery at Yorkshire Water said: “We are committed to ensuring that we give our customers the best possible service for the lowest possible price and our major investment plans for the next five years play a huge part in this. Our Contract Partners and Consultants take great pride in their service alongside Yorkshire Water and this news is testament to their strong performance.

“The next step is to review the AMP6 programme with our partners, optimising AMP6 investment so we are well-placed to deliver the best value asset solutions. We’re committed to working in a more integrated way to further boost collaboration and efficiency and are now in the best possible shape to plan ahead for AMP6.”


* Contract partners:
Byzak Entec, Earthtech Morrison, Morgan Sindall Grontmij, Barhale WSP, Mott MacDonald Bentley, Black and Veatch, Morrison Utility Services, Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions.

Arup, Montgomery Watson Harza, Turner and Townsend.

Friday, 14 June 2013

MP congratulates Yorkshire Water on aiming for energy-neutral sewage treatment works


On the 13th June, our Chief Executive, Richard Flint welcomed the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Rt Hon Ed Davey MP for a tour of our pioneering waste water treatment works, as we aim to generate all the energy used by the works on site.

At our Esholt site we are in the process of commissioning a new Bio-Energy facility which will turbo-charge the existing anaerobic digestion plant with a new innovative process, turning waste into energy and recycling essential nutrients back to agriculture.

On an inaugural visit to Esholt, the Secretary of State launched a new phase of the Government's Energy Entrepreneurs Fund and congratulated us on its brand new ATC Gasification technology which takes it a step closer to generating all of its energy needs.

Together with our technical partners Intervate, we have been awarded £1m from the most recent Energy Entrepreneurs Fund, which is for development of innovative projects in power generation. The grant will contribute to delivery of Advanced Thermal Conversion (ATC) Gasification, using sewage sludge and screenings as fuel to generate electricity.

The latest round of the Energy Entrepreneurs Fund amounts to £16m and will be awarded to 30 organisations.

Edward Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, said: “I was genuinely impressed by Yorkshire Water’s commitment to on-site electricity generation and I congratulate the company on their efforts.

“I want to see more and more businesses and communities generate their own energy, reduce their energy usage, cut carbon, and benefit from lower bills.

“It’s great to see first-hand how the £1m of funding that the Government was able to provide has had a successful impact. Today I’m calling for more exciting and innovative projects in Yorkshire, and across the country, to come forward and make their case for a share of £19m of funding for energy entrepreneurs.”

Our Chief executive Richard Flint said: “We’re serious about our commitment to reducing our energy usage and generating much more ourselves.

“We know that energy bills are rising and we need to take steps to protect our customers from the impact of these rises. Generating our own electricity is the logical way to do this and is part of our Blueprint for Yorkshire.

“Our comprehensive programme of investment has been bolstered by this £1m grant from the government.

“Last year we reduced our energy use by 3%, saving 8,700 tonnes of carbon – the same amount as produced if you drive around the world 1,500 times. We’re investing over £100m in energy, this includes seven new anaerobic digestion plants in the next two years, which will help bring down our energy bills and protect our customers from this cost.

“We are proud to have achieved the Carbon Trust Standard and are committed to taking the green agenda forward in Yorkshire. We aim to generate around 16% of our energy needs by the end of 2015."