Harrogate and Knaresborough MP, Andrew Jones, has briefed the new Secretary of State for the Environment, Rt Hon Steve Barclay MP, on the bid to designate the Nidd at the Lido as a bathing water. Following designation the Environment Agency will work with Yorkshire Water, local farmers, businesses and residents to put in place a five-year plan to improve the quality of the water in the river.
The bid is backed by local councils, wild swimmers, anglers and community groups who have submitted letters of support to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
After the meeting Andrew commented:
Mr Barclay has taken up post since I submitted the bid and so I wanted to brief him personally. While a decision is yet to be made, it was clear to me that he was impressed with the information gathered by local volunteers and the many letters of support.
The Nidd is used by hundreds of people for recreation. The bid is about helping them to do that in a consistently cleaner and healthier environment with water quality that shows sustained improvement.
The main cause of pollution in the Nidd is run-off from farmland which contains chemicals from pesticides and animal waste. The farming community upstream are key partners for our campaign for better water quality.
Alongside this Yorkshire Water are investing £180m over two years to reduce the operation of storm overflows. The overflows provide a valuable service stopping sewage from backing up into our homes but they operate too often.
There is also a legacy of mining along the Nidd. When the abandoned mine workings flood iron, zinc, lead, cadmium, aluminium, manganese and copper leach into the river.
So it is a complex issue needing the input of many different groups. That is why it is important that we have an agreed plan backed by the Environment Agency.