Nidd Gorge Viaduct
Nidd Gorge Viaduct

Andrew Jones MP calls for urgent action on Oak Beck chemical spill

21 September 2022

An unidentified pollution spill into Harrogate’s Oak Beck has prompted calls for urgent action to the Environment Agency and Yorkshire Water by local MP Andrew Jones.

Oak Beck starts at Beaver Dyke reservoir and flows down into Harrogate through Pot Bank and past Oakdale Golf Club before joining the River Nidd in Bilton close to the Nidd Gorge viaduct.

Last week local residents, including well-known conservationist Keith Wilkinson MBE who chairs the Nidd Gorge Advisory Partnership, noticed that the water in the beck had changed colour and that hundreds of fish had died and were floating in the river.

Mr Jones, who has spoken at length to Mr Wilkinson, has written to the Environment Agency and Yorkshire Water who are investigating the issue but have not yet determined the source of the outbreak.

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Commenting, Andrew said:

This is not the first time we have seen pollutants dumped into Oak Beck and I am keen that those responsible face a substantial penalty for doing so.  We are currently starting the most massive programme our country has ever seen to remove storm overflows from discharging into our waterways.  These chemical spills can have far more serious effects.  We cannot allow the good work to be undone by these actions whether accidental or deliberate.

That is why I have asked Yorkshire Water and the Environment Agency to pull out all the stops to find the source of the pollution.  I want to see the strongest action possible against those responsible.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said:

We are grateful to members of the public who reported concerns about pollution and dead fish at Oak Beck in Harrogate recently. Our officers attended the scene to investigate and confirmed a number of fish had died.

The Environment Agency continues to work with Yorkshire Water to investigate the incident to locate the source of potential pollution and what caused the fish deaths.

Members of the public are urged to report cases of pollution to the Environment Agency’s incident hotline immediately on 0800 80 70 60.

1 Comment

  1. Well done Environment Agency confirming the status of the fish. Shame you turned up on the morning after the event (10th September) without sterile bottles to take water samples from the river! Seems you just turned up to observe rather than investigate. What is your job?

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