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From Telegraph & Argus, October 24th, 2019
Written by Claire Lomax

ILKLEY Clean River Group’s application for Bathing Water Status for the River Wharfe has gone to Defra with the support of Ilkley Town Council, John Grogan MP, and Bradford Council. If successful the river would be the first in the UK to achieve Designated Bathing Water Status. Over 500 people completed the consultation survey with overwhelming support for a river fit to swim, paddle and play in. Ilkley residents volunteered to count people in the river every week from May to September.

The application demonstrates the high usage of the river for recreation from the main road bridge all the way past the footbridge to Beanlands Island.

The first UK Citizen Water testing for E Coli, lead by Prof Rick Battarbee demonstrated that in low flow the river is safe between the main bridge and the footbridge, but not between the footbridge and Beanlands.

Subsequent testing indicated that the high flow pollution in the river (and low flow downstream of the footbridge) comes from the sewage outflows at Addingham and Ilkley.

The Group is campaigning for better treatment of sewage and compliance with European legislation so that no raw sewage is discharged into the river except in extreme weather.