England’s first bathing river designated at Ilkley

Defra and the Environment Agency have designated England’s first river bathing site – the part of the River Wharfe at Ilkley in Yorkshire. From May 2021, the EA will monitor bacteria levels to ensure the popular swimming spot is safe to use.

Yorkshire Water has set out plans to reduce storm overflow discharges into the river by 20%, increasing the use of technology to predict and prevent pollution incidents.

It has also confirmed a new partnership to improve water quality in the River Wharfe, bringing together the EA, Bradford Council, National Farmers Union, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and landowners upstream of Ilkley

Water minister, Rebecca Pow, said: “We all know that water quality won’t change overnight. It will take time and we need farmers and businesses to commit to achieve the necessary improvements. I am pleased to see Yorkshire Water stepping forward with new proposals today to help move things in the right direction.”