Lightning Strikes Salford

Lightning raced across our skies during last week’s heavy storms, but it also stopped to pay us a visit. On Tuesday evening (7th June 2016) lightning struck a 50ft ash tree near Cedar Place, Lower Broughton; cutting it in half only a few meters away from hundreds of local residents on Spike Island.


Lightning can reach up to 30,000 degrees celsius.

Most people were caught off guard as weather forecasters predicted the storm would pass by Salford unannounced.

Other areas of Salford were also affected. Firemen were called to Ellesmere Park in Eccles during the night when the rain flooded the basement of a house, where the water was pumped before anyone was injured.

Thunderstorms occur when the atmosphere becomes unstable. When warm air exists beneath much cooler air it creates a positive and negative charge in the clouds, which come together to discharge a huge amount of energy that has built up in the clouds. We call this discharge a lightning strike.


Peel House in Eccles was struck by lightning. Photo credit: @fromthebigchair

Standing beneath a tree during a storm is widely understood to be a dangerous thing to do, but why? This is because when lightning strikes it seeks out the path of least resistance. The moisture inside a tree trunk serves as an effective conductor to help lightning reach the ground.

This is also the cause of scarring on trees. When struck by lightning the moisture inside the tree becomes turbocharged with super-hot temperatures (up to 30,000 degrees celsius – hotter than the surface of the sun), and this causes the tree to simply “explode” beneath such high pressure.

During a thunderstorm it is always best to stay indoors and avoid any materials that may conduct electricity.

We Get Help From Above – So, We Help From Below

Back in July last year, we wrote about the dangers of Giant Hogweed that grows along the banks of our river and is severe risk to anyone who touches it. Mike Duddy, from Salford Friendly Anglers, one of the Project’s partners, told us, ““The problem with Giant Hogweed is so widespread that it needs to be looked at on a regional scale.””

Here in our part of Salford, we not only grow our own Giant Hogweed but we also get the seeds from all the many tonnes of plants that grow beside the tributaries and main banks of the upstream Irwell.

But Mr Fred Tyldesley, a farmer in his late 70’s, who lives at the Top O’th Brow Farm, Hawkshaw, Bury that is beside Kirklees Brook that runs into the Irwell, has cleared some his land of Hogweed. A visit from Mike was all he needed to understand how he could help all the people below the Brook and all the way down to us. But there was still a lot to go at.

Loads of Giant Hogweed growing in Bury

Loads of Giant Hogweed growing in Bury

So a few days ago Mike and his team of volunteers went back to Top O’th Brow to finish the job off.

Kirklees 30.05.16

Since last year, Mike and the team trained through the winter and became qualified sprayers of dangerous plants such as Hogweed. This Project paid towards this training and the equipment to make this effort possible.

Having spoken to many householders, farmers and businesses alongside Kirklees Brook, Mike and the team now have permission to spray every plant in the Kirklees area, about 6 miles, this summer. The plan is then to do about 3 miles of the main banks of the Irwell every year.

Kirklees 1 30.05.16

Mike said, “This is a massive task, with only 5 of us, courtesy of IVSC, doing this work we need support. I have approached Bury Council and the Environment Agency to provide us with their trained manpower to help us. Then we can really make a difference.

The problems that Giant Hogweed are causing on our river banks are only going to get worse if there is not a concerted effort to treat and beat it. But our small team can only do so much.”

So Mr Tyldesley, up there in Bury, started something and Mike and his team, down here, are doing their best to make sure that incidents such as the blisters and burns suffered by a ten-year-old girl on holiday in Scotland, last July , do not happen along the 39 miles (63 km) length of our Irwell.

She just touched the plant

She just touched the plant


“There Was I Digging This Hole, Digging This Hole, Oh So Big and Round”

There is a mega, massive hole being dug at Castle Irwell. It’s forming the 2nd Flood basin that will work together with Littleton Road basin to, hopefully, stop us being flooded again.

Looking towards Harry’s Hill, named after our well-known local resident Harry Davies

But, the really brilliant thing is that we have our own huge wetland and open space that we can all use. With 3km of footpaths going around it, the whole length of the old racecourse.

Harry's Hill plan

We will have our own piece of countryside on our doorstep.

An artist's impression of the Castle Irwell wetland

An artist’s impression of the Castle Irwell wetland

Castle Irwell, should be re-opening in September.



So, keep your eye on this space.


The Irwell Python!

The River Irwell in East Salford has been celebrated for its growing biodiversity over the past few years, but it recently exceeded everyone’s expectations when a 4ft python was found on its banks.

Python in the irwell

Royal python (Photo by Luke Blazejewski)

The sub-Saharan beast was found by a local walker just beneath the bridge joining Peel Park and the Meadows, near Salford University, and within ten minutes it had attracted quite a crowd. The RSPCA and local police were called, but serious concerns for the snake’s safety began to grow.

Snakes are cold blooded animals, meaning they get their body heat from the sun. While all snakes can swim very well, our waters are much cooler than their homelands’, and so as the python clung onto a branch sticking out of the Irwell, its body temperature was dropping by the minute.

Two local residents jumped into the river and brought the snake safely back to land, where it was taken into care by a builder working in the area – who just happened to have a python at home! The python was looked after (and warmed up) until the RSPCA came to collect it and take it to a sanctuary.

Royal pythons are non-venomous and the smallest python species in Africa, making it very popular in the exotic pet trade.

Nutritious, Declicious Dishes on a Shoe-String


Job Vacancy – Project Worker Energy


Come and Join Us on Our Tour of Salford Green Open Homes



The Prime Minister thanks the Community of East Salford for its effort during and after the Boxing Day, 2016 flood.

On the evening of Monday 21 March 2016, the Prime Minister hosted a gathering at 10 Downing Street of representatives of the communities, across the country, and the agencies that were involved in the Boxing Day flood rescue and recovery operations.

He praised all those that had played such an important part in supporting their neighbours particulalry vulnerable people in their communities.

Communities and Services from Greater Manchester

Communities and Services from Greater Manchester

Roger Baldry from the Irwell Valley Sustainable Communities Project/The Broughton Trust, representing the local community and Lee Sugden, Chief Executive of Salix Homes went from Salford.

Roger said “It was a great opportunity to talk to other groups who had had the same horrendous time on Boxing Day and were slowly getting back to normal. It became clear how much of a major event the Lower Broughton flooding was compared with some other areas, with over 500 houses and 198 businesses flooded.

“The Budget announcement that £700 million has been set aside for flood defence works is welcomed but Greater Manchester is not mentioned.

“During the evening I was able to talk to Liz Truss, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Rory Stewart, Parliamentary Under Secretary, David Rooke and Keith Ashcroft, executive managers at the Environment Agency.

“I said that our community would like to see flood adaptation works being proposed for the upper reaches of the River Irwell to save our area from future flooding, and discussions taking place with Peel Holdings, the owners of the Manchester Ship Canal that the Irwell runs into, resulting in a flood strategy for the Canal being in place should another major flood take place.”

We Can Plan What to Do if We Have an Emergency in Our Area

We have just had a major flood in our area and the communities around Heath Avenue and Gordon Road responded really well. We all need to prepare for any emergency whether it be another flood, hopefully not, extreme hot or cold weather or an major epidemic like flu.

Please watch our short video that talks about how you might prepare for any of these emergencies.

Video based on Cumbria CVS/Sustain Eden by





Our Film – The One in 100 Year Flood?

On Boxing Day, 2015, 688 houses and 119 business in Lower Broughton, Salford were affected by a flood.

This short film made by Luke Blazejewski with the people who live and work in the area, on behalf of the Irwell Valley Sustainable Communities Project/The Broughton Trust, tells the story of the day of the flood and the aftermath.

Please click below to view and share with your friends.