Harrogate Lib Dem figure calls on £235,000 'pollution’ donation to be spent on improving the River Nidd
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The plea comes after an Environment Agency investigation found the water company breached the terms of its environmental permit in August 2015 when it discharged sewage into the Hookstone Beck in Harrogate.
But Harrogate and Knaresborough Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesperson Tom Gordon is calling for it to be spent it in the Nidd which runs through Nidderdale, Knaresborough and Harrogate.
Mr Gordon said “It is only right that Yorkshire Water pay towards the cost of clearing up the situation.
"I have contacted Yorkshire Wildlife Trust to ask how this money will be spent.
"I want to see a local project with the money going towards improving the ecosystem here in the Nidd in Harrogate and Knaresborough.
"Yorkshire Wildlife Trust have run great community-based environmental projects in Hull and Bradford.
"There is a real opportunity for something here in Harrogate and Knaresborough."
Following the ruling by the Environment Agency, Yorkshire Water said it had identified the problem and taken substantial steps to tackle it.
A spokesperson for Yorkshire Water said: "We have made significant improvements in our operations since this incident in 2015, including installing telemetry across 98% of our Combined Sewer Overflows with the remaining CSOs to be monitored by the end of this year.
"This helps monitor our network and identify incidents of this nature so they can be corrected quickly.
"When things go wrong, we understand we have a responsibility to make it right.
"As a result, we have donated £235,000 to the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, money which will be spent in North Yorkshire to continue to provide excellent land for the people and wildlife of Yorkshire to enjoy."
The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust says it plans to use the money on a range of environmental improvements.
One such project is the effort to reintroduce native crayfish in North Yorkshire.
Another programme which could benefit is the work on the Ripon City Wetlands nature reserve.
Despite concern among local residents and politicians over reports of pollution incidents in the River Nidd, the Environment Agency has recently upgraded Yorkshire Water's rating from two stars to three stars.
The revision came in the Environment Agency's annual report publishedd last week on the environmental performance of England's nine water and sewage companies.
The report shows some improvements to water company star ratings under the Environmental Performance Assessment (EPA), including Yorkshire Water when comparing 2022, compared to 2021.
Measured against the Environment Agency’s 4-star rating, Yorkshire Water has moved from a 2 star in 2021 to a 3 star in 2022.
It is now listed as a “good company”.
Ripon City Wetlands nature reserve first opened to the public back in 2019 after being transformed from working quarry.
It is home to bitterns, avocets, little ringed plovers, kingfishers and otters among the reedbeds and in the water.
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has been protecting Yorkshire's wildlife and wild places for nearly 80 years and has managed and restored more than 100 nature reserves across the county.
For more information, visit: https://www.ywt.org.uk/