Riverwatch Revisited

 

King George VI has just given his Christmas broadcast to the nation and outside is a bitterly cold afternoon. There had been snow overnight and no thaw since so everywhere is a brilliant sparkling white. As the hours of daylight come to an end Old Tom is setting out across the fields heading for a distant copse. He has his shotgun under his arm, a pocketful of cartridges and a game bag across his back. He is dressed in a thick army grey coat to keep out the wind and his faithful dog Rusty leads the way. Rusty knows where they are going as he had been there many times before. He also knows his job is to find and put up pheasants and to chase rabbits out of the hedgerows into the open for his master to despatch. They are an inseparable pair!

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Westminster Diary

Westminster Diary

 

December has proved to be a very positive month for Norfolk. We now have the A11 fully opened and the transformation of driving from Barton Mills to Thetford on a fully dualled road without stop,start traffic  is fantastic. This is going to make a huge difference to South West Norfolk, as well as the rest of the county. Just before the opening ceremony I attended a business breakfast with around 60 companies from the area. The local business forums have been instrumental in driving this scheme forward and MPs and councillors from both Norfolk and Suffolk mobilised behind the campaign. Combined with the significant tourism promotion that will be launched in early 2015 to raise the profile of Norfolk across the UK, the news is very positive for jobs and opportunities here.

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Down memory Lane

 

Occasionally, at this time of the year, I remember 1952 and the Great smog that settled over London that December.   The centre of a large anticyclone settled above the town trapping a layer of colder air close to the ground, held in position by an inverse temperature gradient
keeping a warmer layer above.  A fog developed, as one might expect under those conditions, but it was particularly dense.  People in something approaching a million homes tried to keep warm by lighting their coal fires but, because of the atmospheric conditions, the smoke   from their chimneys only reached little height before turning over and
sinking down to add to the fog, much of the industry was also powered by  coal fired steam boilers, town gas was produced from coal, and in the  middle of it all was the coal fired Battersea Power Station.  The smoke   from this coal burning contained a high proportion of particulates of soot and minute droplets of tar that added to the fog and increased its
density (Battersea did have filters to reduce their emissions of  particulates).  Road traffic also produced particulates including lead,  (although the lead tended to fall to the ground relatively quickly)  along with more pollutants.  Apart from the particles the exhausts from
all this combustion of coal and other fuels contained a number of  noxious gases, in particular the highly toxic and corrosive sulphur  dioxide as well as some oxides of nitrogen and small amounts of carbon  monoxide, together with a whole lot of carbon dioxide.  The net result was a ghastly yellowish unhealthy smog that tended to thicken over the
next few days.

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