Harrogate Lib Dem candidate calls for protected status for Nidd as data shows sewage spills rose last year

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Harrogate’s Lin Dem candidate says he backs his party’s plan to introduce a new Blue Flag status for rivers as he pointed to new figures showing sewage in the Nidd got even worse last year.

Tom Gordon, Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Harrogate and Knaresborough, said he was proud of his party’s commitment to tackle sewage dumping.

“There were 1,661 spills into the Nidd and its tributaries in 2023, over 8,277 recorded hours,” said Mr Gordon.

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"This is far worse than the 1,061 spills over 3,821 hours in 2022.

Tom Gordon, Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Harrogate and Knaresborough, said he was proud of his party’s commitment to tackle sewage dumping. (Picture contributed)Tom Gordon, Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Harrogate and Knaresborough, said he was proud of his party’s commitment to tackle sewage dumping. (Picture contributed)
Tom Gordon, Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Harrogate and Knaresborough, said he was proud of his party’s commitment to tackle sewage dumping. (Picture contributed)

"The water companies act with impunity, knowing the Government will do little, anxious not to interfere in the operations of private companies.”

The pollution of Britain’s rivers, lakes and coastlines is one of the big campaign themes of Lib Dem party leader Ed Davey, who personally took samples from the river Nidd during a visit to Harrogate and Knaresborough earlier in the year.

Mr Gordon said he endorses the Liberal Democrats’ plan to massively expand marine protected areas and establish a new Blue Flag status for rivers, setting legally binding targets to prevent sewage dumping in sites earmarked for swimmers and anglers.

Such sites would also protect and encourage wildlife.

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In addition, what he described as the “ineffective” Ofwat would be replaced by a new regulator with far greater powers, following on from the party’s aim to ban water company executive bonuses.

Mr Gordon said: “The scandal of pollution in the Nidd has to addressed now, not at some point in the future.

"Families should be able to swim safely and enjoy the river in the knowledge the water is not polluted."

Mr Gordon said he was full of praise for the local community groups doing so much hard work in the campaign to clean up the River Nidd.

The General Election will take place on Thursday, July 4.

Also standing for the Harrogate and Knaresborough seat are:

Andrew Jones, Conservative Party

Conrad Whitcroft, Labour Party

Shan Oakes, Green Party

John Swales, Reform UK

Residents are being reminded to make sure that they are registered to vote.