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Hosepipe Ban

Welcome to our July newsletter. In this issue we have information on the hosepipe bad. 10 reasons Manchester is one of the worlds top tourist destinations. Drunken Seagulls on our beaches. And why we might be paying for everything soon with our fingers and faces.

Hosepipe ban announced in the North West

The North West’s water company United Utilities has announced that it will impose a hosepipe ban (known as a Temporary Use Ban) following what is believed to be the longest heatwave since 1976.


The ban will come into force on Sunday 5 August, and there now follows a period of time for customers to provide feedback if they believe they should be exempt.


The ban will apply to domestic customers who get their water supply from United Utilities, with the exception of customers in Carlisle and the north Eden Valley, where supplies remain at reasonable levels.


Martin Padley, United Utilities Water Services Director, said: "Despite some recent rainfall, reservoir levels are still lower than we would expect at this time of year and, with forecasters predicting a return to hot dry weather for the rest of July, we are now at a point where we will need to impose some temporary restrictions on customers.


"It is not a decision we have taken lightly and we are enormously grateful to customers for having helped reduce the demand on our network over the last couple of weeks, but unless we get a period of sustained rainfall before 5 August these restrictions will help us safeguard essential water supplies for longer.


Whilst the ban restricts the use of hosepipes or sprinklers for watering private gardens and washing private cars, customers will still be able to water their gardens with a watering can and wash their vehicles using a bucket and sponge. These methods typically use a fraction of the amount of water a hosepipe or sprinkler uses.


The move by United Utilities is alongside the company’s continuing efforts to maintain essential supplies, such as maximising water abstraction from ground water supplies, moving water around its regional integrated network of pipes and running an extensive campaign to encourage customers to use water wisely.


For more water saving tips and information about the hosepipe ban please visit our website.


Customers can find out whether they are in an area affected by the ban by entering their postcode into the search facility on our website from 17 July.


The exempt areas can be approximately described as:

  • Carlisle district
  • The North-Eastern corner of Eden district 

These areas are exempt because they receive their water from discrete supply network zones fed by local water sources which have not been so badly affected by the overall lack of rainfall. Water resource levels in these zones are considered adequate. The zones are not connected to the integrated network which serves the rest of the region.

Water facts and figures

  • A hosepipe uses 540 litres an hour, as much as a family of four would use in one day.
  • A sprinkler left running overnight uses as much water as a family of four would use in one week
  • A hosepipe ban can reduce water usage by 5-10 per cent (according to research by United Kingdom Water Industry Research)
  • In the North West this would amount to over 100 million litres per day

10 reasons Manchester is one of the world's top tourist destinations


10 reasons Manchester is one of the world's top tourist destinations

Tourism is booming in Manchester - here are just a few reasons why

Arts and culture

Manchester's cultural offering has never been stronger since the opening of the £25m HOME arts centre in First Street and the £15m revamp of The Whitworth art gallery in recent years.

The future for Manchester’s arts scene looks bright too. A £111m new arts centre The Factory - dubbed 'the Guggenheim of the north' - is due to open in late 2020, bringing a world class theatre, performance and exhibition space to the Old Granada Studios site on Quay Street.

The venue will be a permanent base for the biennial Manchester International Festival, which has turned the city into a world stage for the arts over the past decade with its diverse programme of theatre, dance, music and more.

The festival also showcases many of the city's other arts venues, with last year's shows including Joy Division and New Order exhibition True Faith at Manchester Art Gallery; Simon Stephens' play Fatherland at the Royal Exchange Theatre ; and Arcade Fire at Castlefield Bowl.

The next festival takes place from July 4 to 21 next year.

Manchester is also home to one of the UK's biggest public art events this summer as the Bee in the City trail fills the city with giant bee sculptures for visitors to discover from July 23 to September 23.

Museums and galleries

From natural history to science and industry, Manchester is full of fun and fascinating museums - and most of them are free to visit.

Visitors can take a walk through the history of the world and its inhabitants, from prehistoric times right up to the present day, at Manchester Museum .

By far the most famous resident is Stan the T Rex, the skeleton cast of a fearsome dinosaur thought to be around 65-70 million years old. Visitors can hang out with him and his pal Percy the Plesiosaur in the Fossils gallery, meet Maude the Tigon from Belle Vue Zoo and discover artefacts from Ancient Egypt and other ancient civilisations.

Based on the site of the oldest surviving passenger railway station, the Museum of Science and Industry is perfectly placed to tell the story of the discoveries and innovations that began in Manchester and went on to change the world.

Its collection includes the models used by John Dalton to demonstrate his atomic theory, laying the foundations of modern chemistry; parts from the world’s first commercially available computer, the Ferranti Mark 1; and one of the world’s largest collections of working steam mill engines.

Football fans can discover the history of the beautiful game at the National Football Museum in Cathedral Gardens. Housed inside the striking Urbis building, the popular attraction tells the story of how football became the people’s game, with exhibits including the first-ever rule book from 1863 and LS Lowry’s painting Going To The Match.

In Spinningfields, The People’s History Museum takes visitors on a march through time, charting the centuries-long struggle for equality and democracy through the largest collection of political material in Britain. As the cradle of the industrial revolution, and the incubator of movements from communism to women’s suffrage, Manchester has a rich history of progressive and radical thinking - and it's all documented here.


As for galleries, The Whitworth is home to an internationally important collection of art, including significant work by William Blake and J.M.W. Turner, as well as hosting an exciting roster of visiting exhibitions and events.

Manchester Art Gallery also boasts some truly world-class work, most notably its outstanding collection of pre-Raphaelite paintings. As well as historic fine art and international contemporary work, the Mosley Street building is also home to a treasure trove of craft and design, from ceramics and silver to glass and furniture.

It also has an extensive costume collection, spanning six centuries of fashion, housed in a separate Gallery of Costume in Platt Fields Park, Rusholme.

Salford Quays is also home to The Lowry , home to the world's largest public collection of paintings and drawings by LS Lowry.


Food and drink

The French at the Midland. We don’t need a Michelin star to prove our food and drink scene has never been better.

From fine dining at The French, Manchester House, The Rabbit in the Moon and 20 Stories to the indie cafe-bars of Ancoats and the Northern Quarter, the city’s dining scene offers something to suit every occasion and budget - and the options span almost every cuisine conceivable.

Exciting new openings include Catalan restaurant Tast on King Street, a collaboration between Michelin-starred chef Paco Perez and Manchester City bosses Pep Guardiola, Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain; Canto, the forthcoming Portuguese joint being opened by El Gato Negro chef-patron Simon Shaw in Ancoats in September; and Kala, a new city centre bistro from acclaimed chef Gary Usher.

Read more: Best restaurants in Manchester: Our guide to eating out



Beer tourism is also a growing trend, and Manchester has seen an influx of visitors in recent years thanks to its world class microbreweries.

Cloudwater was recently named the second best brewery in the world and attracts visitors from as far as the USA, while beer-lovers flock from all over Europe to visit the respected Indy Man Beer Con festival at Victoria Baths every year.

The city's beer scene is so popular that an app was launched last year , mapping out the city’s best brewtaps, bars and pubs for visitors - and residents - to discover.

Manchester Food and Drink Festival also pulls in thousands of visitors every year to showcase the very best eating and drinking the city has to offer.

The nightlife

The Hacienda may be long gone but its indomitable spirit lives on at clubbing institutions like The Warehouse Project,which regularly brings some of the biggest names in dance music to the city.

Whatever beat you dance to, Manchester’s eclectic nightlife offers something for everyone, from the hipster bars of the Northern Quarter to the glitz and glamour of Spinningfields, while Canal Street is home to one of the liveliest gay villages in Europe.

The music scene

Few cities can claim the musical pedigree that Manchester can, as the birthplace of The Smiths, Joy Division, Oasis and many more bands besides.

The city’s still-thriving music scene is a major stop-off on the UK gig circuit and its venues regularly host global superstars as well as up-and-coming acts.

Manchester Arena is one of the largest indoor music venues in Europe and has set the stage for shows by everyone from Madonna and Prince to Take That and Kylie Minogue over the last 20 years.

The Apollo and the Academies also command plenty of heavyweight acts, while more intimate venues like Night and Day have helped to launch the careers of countless bands and offer audiences the chance to say ‘I saw them first’.

The city is also home to Parklife , the largest metropolitan music festival in the country, which has brought names including Liam Gallagher, N*E*R*D, Lorde, Frank Ocean, The 1975 and The Chemical Brothers to Heaton Park in recent years.

The sports

City or United? We’ll let you decide. But it’s not all about football here.

The legacy of the Commonwealth Games has left us with world-class facilities including the Manchester Aquatics Centre, Regional Athletics Arena, National Squash Centre and Manchester Velodrome.

We’re also home to one of England’s most renowned test venues at the Emirates Old Trafford cricket ground. And don’t forget the National Football Museum.

The shopping

Whether you’re rummaging through the treasures of the Northern Quarter’s vintage boutiques and record stores, hunting for bargains in the high street brands of the Arndale Centre or splashing the cash in the luxury designer shops and department stores of New Cathedral Street and Exchange Square, Manchester truly is the shopping capital of the north west.

We’ve also got one of the largest shopping centres in Europe on our doorstep at the intu Trafford Centre.

The hotels

There’s no shortage of places to stay in Manchester, with forecasts predicting there’ll be nearly 20,000 hotel rooms by 2020 - more than any other city outside London.

From the historic grandeur of the Midland Hotel and the five-star luxury of Hotel Gotham to boutique boltholes like the Great John Street Hotel and King Street Townhouse, visitors are spoilt for choice for booking options.

The recently revamped and rebranded Principal Hotel with its beautiful lobby bar and restaurant The Refuge, and the newly-opened Cow Hollow Hotel are another couple of the coolest places to stay.

And take a look at the soon-to-open Whitworth Locke, which will feature its own espresso martini bar, coffee shop and yoga studio.

The Christmas Markets

Among the biggest, busiest and best in Europe, Manchester's Christmas Markets are a reason to visit the city in themselves.

The festive shopping extravaganza returns from November 9 to December 22 this year, with hundreds of thousands of people expected to visit them in the run-up to Christmas.

The transport links

Manchester is home to the third busiest airport in the UK after Heathrow and Gatwick, with direct flights from everywhere from Dubai to Hong Kong.

It’s also well connected by train, Metrolink and motorway, making coming to visit a breeze, where ever you’re travelling from.

Dozens of 'drunk' seagulls found on South West beaches

Dozens of "drunken" seagulls have become "disoriented and confused" after scavenging alcohol in southwest England.


Some have died and others are seriously ill, with the RSPCA saying the birds were probably feeding on waste products from a local brewery or alcohol producer.

"The birds appear disoriented and confused and struggle to stand," said RSPCA vet David Couper.

"We took some video of one of the birds who is staggering around and losing his balance just like a person would if they'd had too much to drink."

Mr Couper, who has treated the birds at an RSPCA centre in Taunton in Somerset, added: "Sadly, a few of the birds have died but most of them have made good recoveries and have been released after a few days in our care."

He said the birds had been brought in in recent weeks after being found on beaches across Devon, and a few from Bridport and Lyme Regis in Dorset.


One rescue centre has taken in nearly 30 intoxicated seagulls in a fortnight.

"We think they're gaining access to some brewing waste products somewhere," RSPCA officer Jo Daniel said.

"At first, the birds look like they have botulism (an illness caused by bacteria) but then, after vomiting, most seem to recover.

"The birds absolutely stink of alcohol when we collect them so now our vans smell like pubs!"

The animal welfare charity has had more than a dozen similar reports from the south coast.

It is now urging local breweries, distilleries and alcohol producers to check that their waste is secure and cannot be accessed by wildlife or birds.

"These birds were clearly wearing their beer gog-gulls when they scavenged their meal for the day and they've really been suffering with hangovers after a gulls' night out," animal collection officer Clara Scully said.


Why you'll soon be paying for everything with your finger and face


In the very near future, PINs and passwords may look as clunky and old-fashioned as old bunches of large iron keys – obsolete technology that wasn’t particularly secure even when it was relied on.

Instead you will breeze through life like an extra from Minority Report, blinking at a reader or merely stroking a terminal to process the payment for your grocery shopping, or your travel tickets or a new house.


Think it all sounds a little far-fetched? Or at least part of some distant future? The future is far closer than you think.


Biometrics security uses technology such as finger-print technology, facial scanners and even voice recognition to authenticate users and allow them access to a facility or service such as banking. It helps eliminate identity theft by using an individual’s physical characteristics to serve as an identifier, much more secure than a PIN or password that can be copied or stolen.


Earlier this month, MasterCard revealed it is in discussion with UK banks to introduce a biometric payment card that includes an inbuilt fingerprint sensor. In order to make a payment, the cardholder has to place their finger on the sensor, which then authorises the transaction.

Part of the drive for that is new EU regulations to tackle bank fraud, which come into force in just over a year and mean people must use two methods of authentication in order to make a payment.

However, fraud is a massively costly problem for both banks and consumers. Research carried out by comparethemarket.com last year showed that one in 10 people in the UK had to cancel a credit or debit card in the last year because of fraud and that more than £1bn had been stolen from bank accounts in 12 months alone. 

And the Annual Fraud Indicator estimates that fraud cost the UK more than £190bn in 2017, an average value of £10,000 per UK family. The bulk of fraud is carried out against the private sector, but we all pay for it in the long run.


Consumers are wary of fraud but also weary of lengthy identification processes; they want their transactions to be as frictionless as possible. So could such technological developments finally outwit fraudsters and leave them unable to steal identities or is it just the latest development in an eternal arms race?

Stan Swearingen is chief executive officer at IDEX, the biometric technology provider for MasterCard. He’s optimistic that fingerprint-activated cards will be across the UK within the next year or two, and that there could even be a similar solution for secure online shopping in the near future as well.

“I believe it’s the future. When you look at the convenience and security, and what it does to the experience I believe it is the future. There are pilots all over the globe and next year we expect millions of units to be deployed.


“It really physically ties the card to you, it’s not that someone can look over your shoulder and steal your password.”

Susana Lopes, product manager for facial biometrics at identity verification company Onfido, agrees that this tech is going to be widespread in a very short period of time. “By 2020, we believe that most transactions that carry a risk will require an identity check involving some form of biometric authentication.

“Consumers are already seeing biometric technology in action, albeit in early form: Ant Financial, the financial services arm of e-commerce giant Alibaba, recently introduced a “Smile to Pay” service in China, where customers at select retailers can pay with just their faces. Apple’s FaceID is another early example.”


Biometrics may reduce the risk of commonplace fraud, for example copying PINs and cloning cards, but even the creators of new systems admit they could be cracked by particularly tenacious fraudsters.

Swearingen says identify theft with fingerprints is James Bond-levels of complex: “If someone was going to spoof this they would first have to get a latent high-quality fingerprint of yours, they would then have to lift that print, apply it to a substance, maybe gelatine, and then apply it to their finger to work in front of the shopkeeper.

“It could perhaps be done but it wouldn’t be scalable, you couldn’t do it to multiple accounts. Even if they could then the back-end analytics would flag it up as unusual shopper behaviour. When you combine it all together this is a compelling security offer.”


Whether this will mean an end to fraud is a question that makes him pause. “As smart as we are, the people who break these things are equally smart. There are a lot of smart people on both sides, I think it will always be an arms race.

“But where we’re getting to is a point where it’s not scalable.”

And that, along with other new technology, could play a significant role in protecting consumers from more everyday risks of fraud. Lopes explains: “Fraudsters like to commit fraud at scale; but by introducing measures like liveness tests, this becomes that more difficult.

“A liveness test requires a user to read out 3 randomly generated numbers to confirm that they’re alive and presenting the information, preventing ‘spoofing’ attempts such as using a picture of a face from the internet to trick the technology.”


Biometrics are not a silver bullet and some commentators suggest they bring their own new risks. Omri Kletter, head of fraud solutions at financial crime combating agency NICE Actimize, says: “Biometrics have many benefits; however, they are not perfect – it makes the card itself more expensive (which may have impact overall on operational costs), requires an enrolment process [and] exposes huge privacy risks in case of data breaches and cyber-attacks.”


His organisation is focused on improving machine-learning algorithms and customer profiling as an additional measure to detect fraud. After all, plenty of fraud takes place because the victim themselves is fooled into handing over large sums of money or authorising incorrect payments. “While authentication methods are becoming more advanced (and expansive, and biometrics is a good example) – card users may be even more exposed to social engineering, scams and manipulations that advanced authentication can’t stop.

“That’s why, while we should embrace these new forms of authentication, we should also develop a richer approach based also on analytics.”


David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, has a more practical concern: “There’s one major downside to the use of biometrics. Biometric data stored by a service provider is just as valuable a target as a database containing usernames and passwords.

“In my view, they should rather be used to confirm our identity, with a password (or other mechanism – or ideally more than one) used to confirm that identity. If I choose a poor password and it is compromised, I can change it: if my fingerprint is compromised, there’s nothing I can do about it.”

It’s very clear that some of the brightest minds in the world are focused on improving and enhancing protections against fraud. Frustratingly, some of the other brightest minds are intently focused on breaking those protections. Biometrics are an important step and will soon be commonplace, but they do not yet mean an end to fraud


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