The bid to gain bathing water status for the River Nidd at the Lido Leisure Park has been personally delivered to Rebecca Pow, Minister for Rivers, by local MP Andrew Jones. Bathing water status unlocks the potential for the Environment Agency to put in place a five-year plan to improve water quality in the river.
The bid has been boosted by the support of businesses along the Nidd including the Lido Leisure Park, the Watermill Café and the iconic Blenkhorns Boats which has been operating for over 100 years.
It also won backing from key organisations like the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, Bilton Conservation Group, Knaresborough Town Council and North Yorkshire Council. In bringing the bid together Andrew worked closely with the Nidd Action Group which has also been doing water testing although this was not required to be submitted as part of the bathing water application.
In all 33 organisations, businesses and councils wrote testimonials for the bid including Yorkshire Water who will be instrumental in implementing works to improve water quality. All the letters of support were included with the application.
This is an impressive array of local support. From riverside businesses to farmers, from councils to water users, from environmental groups to nearby residents the campaign has seen an unprecedented level of backing. All those people and organisations speaking with one voice is an incredibly powerful endorsement of the bid and I made that point to the minister when I handed her the bid.
The bid had to satisfy a number of stiff criteria to have any chance of being successful. Many of these were around safety, accessibility and onsite facilities. The bid also had to demonstrate that the Lido was well-used for recreation.
I want to thank all those who helped record the number of people using the river on some very hot days over the summer. At the height of summer hundreds were swimming, paddling or just having a splash. I was often there too. The site is beautiful and it is small wonder that it attracts so many.
And I want to thank Meridian Parks who own the Lido Leisure Park. Director Frank Maguire and his team have been so supportive of this application from the start. Without that support this bid would not have got off the ground.
Ministers and officials at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will now consider the bid in what is believed to be the first bathing water application led by a Member of Parliament. The result of the bid will be known by 30 April 2024.