The old market town of Bingham is a just small settlement on in between Nottingham and Newark, but there have been increasing reports of strange meteorological conditions in Bingham and the immediate surrounding areas.
Recent revelations have uncovered a “microclimate” stemming from the centre of Bingham and travelling northwards towards East Bridgford, and in a southerly direction towards the small village of Cropwell Bishop in Nottinghamshire. This area between these three geographical points, where the variations in climate have occurred, is coming to be known as “The Bingham Triangle” – taking its name from The Bermuda Triangle, the infamous triangular space notorious for the disappearance for several planes and ships. No planes or ships have been reported missing in the Bingham area however, but the interesting microclimate that has been reported is causing a stir amongst authorities, academics and the local residents.
A microclimate is an atmospheric zone that hosts a different climate to the surrounding areas. These types of zones can vary in size from the very small; microclimates have been known to exist in spaces of just a few feet, to large masses of land measuring a number of square miles. The latter is more suitable to the phenomenon experienced in and around Bingham. What has been witnessed in “The Bingham Triangle” is that the weather front will noticeably change upon the approach to the borders of this “triangle”.
The sort of microclimate behaviour that has been reported demonstrate that it will be sunny in other neighbouring counties and towns, such as in Lincolnshire or even in Nottinghamshire itself, but it will be cloudy, overcast or even raining around Bingham, or vice versa. These incidences are not isolated. They have been spotted by a vast number of locals and professional authorities which deal with meteorological and climate issues worldwide. People who travel from outside of the “triangle” to work in Bingham have noticed the change in weather the most. Staff at the workplace suppliers The Workplace Depot based in Bingham observed the varying climate so frequently and to such an extent that they actually began to log the activity on a daily basis.
Speaking to Richard Bloomfield, website editor at The Workplace Depot, he said “I travel from Grantham every day to work in Bingham and the change in weather is astonishing. It can be a bright, sunny day when I leave the house and as I begin to approach Bingham it will almost always become dull and overcast.”
“A number of employees agreed with me and so we began to document the change in weather conditions. A sort of micro-climate must exist within “The Bingham Triangle” as we have proof of the change in weather nearly every day for the past six months.”
A similar account comes from Matt Janaway, an IT support worker based in Worksop who also travels daily into Bingham. “Approaching Bingham from the north of the county, I always notice how the weather changes. Bingham always seems so foggy!”
“One of my colleagues says the number of asthma suffers in this area is well above average, maybe this has something to do with the fog and the unique climate in this part of Nottinghamshire.”
Graphic designer Sheetal Gaware, who also works in the centre of Bingham, says “I definitely think it is cooler here in Bingham than where I live in Nottingham. Maybe it’s because it’s an isolated place. Whatever it is, I’m sure there is something strange going on with this town’s weather”
Reasons for why this microclimate exists have been disputed by many authorities. The first possible cause is the geographic location of Bingham and its proximity to the river Trent. Bingham town centre is just three miles away from the river and being near water is a well-known factor contributing to the creation of microclimates. Large bodies of water can cause the temperature of the local atmosphere to drop significantly and thus creating a microclimate in the surrounding areas close to the water, this could well be the case in Bingham due to it being situated close to the Trent.
A subsequent geographical feature of the land within “The Bingham Triangle” that adds to the peculiar changing climate is that the area falls directly within the Vale of Belvoir. This is a plane of low ground around Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Leicestershire, and Bingham falls directly into the valley. Slopes and aspects of land are exposed to varying amounts of sunlight due to the slanted angles of the terrain. This can be responsible for the microclimate because the sun’s light is missing the dip in the middle of the Vale where Bingham is located.
The town of Bingham has a few more skeletons in its closet which local residents believe encourages this phenomenon. There are numerous sites in Bingham which have been confirmed as being contaminated with an assortment of chemicals, which may have an adverse effect on the local atmosphere and environment.
The first one of these sites is the former air base RAF Newton, which is situated just under three miles away from the town centre. When this site was a functioning air base, radium was used to coat the dials and controls of aircraft so that they could be visible when the planes flew at night. Despite the radium covered equipment being scrapped and burned, the chemical remains radioactive for thousands of years. The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that RAF Newton is one of the sites where radioactive waste is buried under the ground. The risk to humans is unclear, but the radioactivity of the land has a detrimental effect on the climate. During the time when the radium was in use at the base, World War Two bomber pilots had often reported erratic changes in the weather conditions, making it difficult to fly and land at RAF Newton. It seems they were experiencing the effects of “The Bingham Triangle” too.
The second cause for environmental issue concerns the land of the former gas works off Moor Lane in Bingham. The land that was used as allotments had to be closed a number of years ago due to chemical contamination as a result of the old gas works. Chemicals such as arsenic, cyanide and lead were proven to be contaminating the area. Once again, it is believed that the environmental effect of these numerous chemicals is contributing to the apparent microclimate around Bingham.
“My place of work is almost next door to the old gas works” said Richard from The Workplace Depot.
“With all those chemicals in the ground, it isn’t surprising that something funny is going on, especially with the rumours about the local area being radioactive!”
To add to this, it was revealed that Bingham was one of the sites used for Genetically Modified Crops. These unnatural ways of growing crops were opposed by residents due to environmental concerns, and it is these artificially grown plants that can alter the distribution and intake of CO2 and Oxygen in the air. Altered levels of these elements in our atmosphere can have serious impacts on the climate and weather that we experience too.
Hearing from the local residents and what academics have to say, there is no doubt that the area around Bingham is definitely playing host to an East Midlands microclimate. It is both the location of the town along with the stories of contamination and radioactivity that consolidate these beliefs. So next time you enter “The Bingham Triangle” be prepared for a sudden change in weather front.
Dr. J. E. Cooper specialises in geographical studies and climate change. She studied the climate of Bingham and the surrounding areas for around two years and plans to continue her research further.