Ilkley Clean River Group is the first group in the UK to have applied for and been awarded Bathing Status for the River at Ilkley. We pioneered the citizen science protocol for water testing (by Prof Rick Battarbee) and held the agencies to account for their use of our money – as consumers through our bills to the water companies, and as taxpayers funding the regulators.

We provided evidence to the Environment Committee for this report. As local residents, we pursued Bathing Status to secure EA testing of the quality of our river, signage so that the public knows how polluted the river is, and to ensure the regulators and water company to do their duty to clean up the river.

At the outset of the campaign 3 years ago we found that the Wharfe was treated as an open sewer. Raw sewage is discharged 1/3rd of the year into our river, and the ‘treated’ sewage is not treated sufficiently. There is no change to this position despite the vociferous public opinion and action locally. The EC report confirms the complacency of overseeing a Victorian sewage system that has not been maintained nor adapted to meet the population and climate needs.

You can find our full response to the bill in the press release linked below.