Yorkshire Water sites awarded bronze accreditation for biosecurity

a photo of Amy Watsham holding the AQUA bronze accreditation plaque
General news Land and recreation


Three Yorkshire Water sites have been awarded an AQUA Bronze Accreditation for Biosecurity, an act of combating the spread of invasive non-native species (INNS).


Tophill Low Nature Reserve, Swinsty Reservoir and Fewston Reservoir were each awarded earlier this month, for the work carried out to raise awareness of biosecurity and prevent the spread of invasive non-native species.


The AQUA biosecurity accreditation scheme, run by the Bristol Zoological Society, work with waterway users, to help them increase their biosecurity efforts to combat the threat of invasive non-native species such as fish, invertebrate and plant species.


Invasive non-native species cost the UK over £4 billion annually, and in Yorkshire, INNS include species such as giant hogweed, signal crayfish and Australian swamp stonecrop. Check, Clean, Dry, is the national biosecurity guidance, which asks people to check, clean and dry footwear and equipment before and after visiting a site, so if any invasive seeds or small organisms have become attached to your kit, they are removed and therefore not able to be accidentally spread elsewhere.


To achieve the award status, all three sites have taken steps to promote biosecurity and prevent the spread of INNS in the environment. At Tophill Low Nature Reserve, Swinsty Reservoir and Fewston Reservoir, there has been staff and volunteer biosecurity training, hosting of engagement stands, installing ‘Check Clean Dry’ signs, and monitoring the sites for any potential new INNS.


Yorkshire Water joins other water companies in having AQUA accredited sites, as well as recreational clubs and private landowners in the AQUA accreditation scheme.


Tophill Low Nature Reserve is also the first SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) site to be accredited too without any recreational sports taking place on the reserve, but due to the aquatic conservation activities carried out on site.

Steph Bradbeer, Senior Ecologist for Yorkshire Water said: “We are delighted to have received Bronze AQUA accreditation, reflecting all the great work done on these sites by Yorkshire Water staff and volunteers. It’s a fantastic achievement but the work doesn’t stop here, we’ll be working to achieve silver and hopefully gold.


“Yorkshire Water is committed to preventing the spread of invasive non-native species and protecting the environment. As we celebrate the achievement of these Bronze AQUA awards, we look forward to working towards further sites being accredited and educating the public on understanding their role in preventing the spread of INNS.”


Tophill Low Warden, Amy Watsham said: Tophill Low is a special site for visitors and members, old and new, collectively enjoying the magic of East Yorkshire’s native wildlife. To be the first SSSI nature reserve to achieve an AQUA award is a great accolade, one that wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our amazing volunteers and Biosecurity colleagues.


“Being part of the AQUA Biosecurity accreditation scheme has really helped to focus our biosecurity activities on and off the reserve, which will go a long way in helping us preserve the native biodiversity many come far and wide to enjoy.”