Yorkshire Water supports Ilkley bathing water petition in consultation response

Yorkshire Water has reaffirmed its commitment to supporting bathing water designation for the River Wharfe in its response to the ongoing consultation.

The company has worked closely with stakeholders to lobby for the bathing water consultation, understanding the achievement of Yorkshire becoming the first region with an inland bathing water status.

As part of its submission, Yorkshire Water outlined that it and key organisations in the area - including Bradford Council, the Environment Agency (EA) and wider stakeholders further upstream – will need to undertake significant investment to meet bathing water standards should the application be successful.

Yorkshire Water also highlighted the challenge of investigating, understanding and engaging with all possible pollution sources further upstream of the proposed bathing water designation, including agricultural and urban diffuse.

Yorkshire Water’s Richard Emmott said: “We continue to support the inland bathing designation in Ilkley, understanding its importance to the town as well as the region as a whole if Yorkshire was to become the first area of the country with such a designation.

“As part of our ongoing work in Ilkley, we have carried out extensive investigations of our own network and are looking at potential changes. We have also investigated the surrounding area and identified three sources of surface water infiltration into the sewer network from Ilkley Tarn which are causing more discharges into the river from the nearby CSO than normal and are working with the EA and Bradford Council to find a solution.

“We are committed to playing our role in investigating the sources affecting bathing designation by working closely with local and national stakeholders, but we do anticipate that this work and the implementation of interventions will take several years to achieve.

“Our investment to meet the stringent standards imposed by bathing water status will be significant and this will be funded through customers’ bills across Yorkshire, while other landowners and stakeholder will also have to invest to ensure the stringent bathing standards are met if the application is successful.

“Bathing designation will be a significant positive for Ilkley as it will benefit from becoming a tourist hotspot during bathing seasons for visitors from across the whole country.”