Yorkshire Water engineering and education programme begins at Wheatcroft, Scarborough  

A couple walking hand-in-hand on a beach in Scarborough on a sunny day
Community and people Network and infrastructure


Yorkshire Water will begin work to reduce discharges into the North Sea at Wheatcroft, Scarborough next week. The project is being run alongside an education initiative with local schools in the area. 

The engineering work, which will begin on 28 May, will complement other planned improvements from all stakeholders that have a role in improving the water quality at the town’s beaches. Yorkshire Water will complete the work ahead of the 2025 bathing water season. 

While the engineering work is ongoing, Yorkshire Water’s education team will be visiting local schools to deliver bespoke lessons tailored to the work of water companies near the coast. LEGO will be used to allow children to use their STEM skills to build and program a robot to travel around a map and tackle blockages caused by unflushables. Blockages can cause discharges to watercourses or lead to sewage escaping the sewer network into homes and gardens. 

The education sessions will also outline what a bathing water is and all of the factors that impact water quality, from the operation of water companies and agricultural runoff to the impact of industry and wildlife. 

It is hoped the children will leave the lessons understanding what should and shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet or poured down the drain and how they can play their own role in ensuring bathing waters are the best they can be in the near and long term. 

Ben Roche, director of wastewater at Yorkshire Water, said: “We’re pleased to be starting on site at Wheatcroft as we continue our commitment to playing our part in improving bathing water quality at Scarborough South Bay. Tackling storm overflows is a priority for us and this is one of many projects we will be working on up and down the coast in the next 12 months. 

“We’re also looking to expand our investment beyond engineering work and will provide bespoke education sessions for local schools. This will provide the children with an awareness of the project at Wheatcroft, the aims to improve bathing water, outline what should and shouldn’t go into the sewers and explain how we all have a part to play to ensure our local environment thrives.” 

The engineering work at Wheatcroft will reduce discharges from the Wheatcroft combined sewer overflow so that there are a maximum of two discharges per bathing water season, which runs from March to September, and ten discharges per year. The investment will meet the Government’s target for this overflow well ahead of the 2035 deadline. In the 2023 season, overflows operated across the Yorkshire coast for less than 1% of the time but YW are committed to reducing this even further. 

Yorkshire Water will be increasing storage within the network to slow the flow of wastewater during periods of prolonged or heavy rainfall. Modelling of the system has indicated increased storage will reduce the discharges to two per bathing water season. 

Richard Flinton, chief executive at North Yorkshire Council, said: "Investment from Yorkshire Water to reduce discharges into the sea at Wheatcroft, Scarborough is welcome news and will benefit the marine environment."