Ilkley pushes for bathing area status to protect river 'used as open sewer'

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Local people in a Yorkshire town are pressing for their river to become the first in the UK to be designated as a bathing area to force the authorities to clean up the water they say is being used as an open sewer.

In the spa town of Ilkley a grassroots campaign has uncovered the regular and routine dumping of untreated sewage by Yorkshire Water – with the approval of the Environment Agency – into the River Wharfe.

In the summer, the river is used by hundreds of children and families, wild swimmers and fishermen, but the work of the Ilkley Clean River campaign has shown that people are putting their health at risk.

Instead of deterring them from taking to the water, locals are demanding that the much-used stretch of river is designated a bathing water area – an endorsement that would force the water company and the Environment Agency to invest in the infrastructure and treatment required to clean up the river.

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