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Campaigners write to Chief Executive of the Environment Agency

Following ‘The Solution Is Less Pollution’ town meeting in February, the Ilkley Clean River Campaign (ICRC) have written a letter to the Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, Sir James Bevan, on behalf of Ilkley town residents. 


In the letter, ICRC raises the concerns of those who attended the meeting about at the number of raw sewage discharges Yorkshire Water makes into the Wharfe and the impact on the quality of water in our river - the Environment Agency regulates Yorkshire Water.


ICRC say they welcome the short-term additional investment by Yorkshire Water to stop solids ending up on the pebble beach, and in the river, and to move some of the inflow to the storm tanks. However, these improvements don't change the number of spills; they just reduce to some extent the amount of spill. This is not a long-term solution neither does it address the core concerns of the town.


Sewage should only be discharged into the river “under unusually heavy rainfall’, but the group have outlined in the letter that this isn’t the case and how the town meeting voted overwhelmingly for the limit to be raised to 'storm' overflow level, outlining that by this they mean the new limit should ensure that:


  • No discharge happens when the river is low - and when any discharge will leave remnants / deposits on the river bank and beach

  • Discharge only happens in storm conditions (unusually heavy rainfall)

  • That the limit reflects the planned increase in population and changes in climate so it is fit for purpose for the future not just for the present levels of use.


The letter goes on to welcome planned improvements by Yorkshire Water in storm tank capacity, but explain this is only a short-term solution that will not future proof the sewage works – more investment is needed.


Members of ICRC would welcome a meeting with Sir James to discuss the issue and await his response.

ICRC have made a number of documents available to download:

Full letter to  the Environment Agency

Factsheet (below) 

Town meeting briefing

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