A stretch of the river Wharfe will become the first in the UK to be given bathing water status in a major success for campaigners trying to stop releases of untreated sewage into inland waters.

Part of the River Wharfe in Ilkley, which is a popular swimming and paddling spot, is to be added to the list of bathing waters next year, after months of campaigning.

It is the first time in the UK that a river has been designated as bathing water and means it will be subjected to a much tougher testing regime.

The designation means that from 2021 the Environment Agency will be required to test the water regularly during the year to determine the level of faecal pollution at the site. Bradford council will then be required to provide that information to the public.

Until now, only coastal waters in the UK have been given bathing water status – an EU directive brought in to safeguard public health and protect the aquatic environment from pollution. Bathing waters are classified annually as excellent, good, sufficient or poor, based on an assessment of the level of bacteria in the water over the preceding four years.

Here’s what the news had to say

The Guardian


The Times






Yorkshire Post


Ilkley Gazette


Telegraph and Argus