Phil Bremner, Business Synergies ‘As you will have seen from previous Editor’s Comments I have been supportive of the efforts of the Ilkley Clean River Campaign’s to obtain bathing water status for the River Ilkley in West Yorkshire. No UK river has designated bathing water status while Germany has 38, Italy 73 and France 573, just 14% of Britain’s rivers are rated as good under the EU water framework directive. Latest figures shared with the campaign by Yorkshire Water reveal that between April and December 2019 there were 136 legal discharges of untreated sewage into the river – all but one of which were given consent by the Environment Agency.
“Ilkley is a popular spot for the public to picnic, and enjoy the river. In each of the last 2 summers when we have been counting numbers of people there are days where there were 1000+ people paddling, playing, swimming and using the riverbank, with numbers reaching 1750 on one day. Designation is not intended to secure more people at the river, but to monitor public health and ensure that the river does not put peoples health at risk when they do visit and that the local environment is better managed.”
“Finally, Defra is consulting on our application for Bathing Water Status. Local people and agencies all support the application and have worked hard to prove how much we need it, so we anticipate a positive outcome. People living in Ilkley expect our sewage to be treated not dumped straight into the river every time it rains. We were shocked to find that our river was being used as an open sewer. We have stories of children getting sick as a result of dipping in the river. This is a disgrace. Bathing status is a critical step in cleaning up our river.”
If Designation is granted it will trigger three important actions that will help Ilkley secure a clean river: Immediately following designation:
(1) Regular testing of water quality by the Environment Agency to determine if it is safe to paddle, play and swim in.
(2) Signage indicating if the water is clean enough to paddle, play or swim in.
(3) A full investigation of the sources of pollution in the river, and the subsequent implementation of a solution to clean up the river.
The consultation closing date is the 2nd October 2020.
The consultation can be accessed here :
Source of quoted statistics : https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/jan/20/ilkley-pushes-for-bathing-area-status-to-protect-river-used-as-open-sewer’
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