Robbie Moore, Defra Minister, and Andrew Jones
Robbie Moore, Defra Minister, and Andrew Jones

“We did it!” – MP on bathing water bid success

13 May 2024

The bid to achieve Designated Bathing Water Status (DBWS) for the River Nidd at the Lido in Knaresborough has been approved by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra). Harrogate and Knaresborough MP, Andrew Jones, led the campaign to improve the water quality of the Nidd, alongside the Nidd Action Group, and has welcomed the news following a letter of confirmation from the River’s Minister Robbie Moore. The Minister visited the Lido earlier today to announce the news alongside Mr Jones.

Mr Jones commented:

This bid has been a big community effort and I want to thank the volunteers, businesses, councils, environmental groups, the Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust and everyone else who made this bid a success. This has been a constructive, positive approach to making our waterways healthier.

The Nidd is used by hundreds of people for recreation and the bid is all about helping them to do that in a consistently cleaner environment with water quality that shows sustained improvement.

Whilst I was quietly confident we would be successful I am delighted that we did it!

DBWS is an official way of recognising that a waterway such as a river, beach or lake is a popular site for water-based activities. Achieving DBWS means that each year from May to September, known as the ‘bathing season’, the Environment Agency (EA) will test the site for pollutants.

The EA publishes annual reports of all designated bathing waters and classifies them as “Excellent”, “Good”, “Sufficient” or “Poor”.

If any DWBS sites do not meet regulatory standards the EA will investigate and create a plan to tackle the sources of pollution.



Mr Moore added:

The value our bathing waters bring to local communities is incredible – providing social, physical and positive health and wellbeing benefits.

These popular swimming spots will now undergo regular monitoring to ensure bathers have up-to-date information on the quality of the water and enable action to be taken if minimum standards aren’t being met.

I am fully committed to seeing the quality of our coastal waters, rivers and lakes rise further for the benefit of the environment and everyone who uses them.


David Clayden, Chair of the Nidd Action Group, said:

This campaign started when fly-fishers on the Nidd noticed a deterioration in the water clarity. They called a meeting of other

interested parties, including local councillors, politicians, environmental organisations and the Environment Agency to ask Yorkshire Water what they intended to do about cleaning up the Nidd.

Following this, the ‘Nidd Action Group’ was formed of a range of local citizens including wild swimmers and anglers as well as locals who just love our river. Together we undertook citizen science surveys in 2023 to evidence the sources of pollution in the Nidd. as well as supporting the bathing water bid. We are grateful to our local MP Andrew Jones and his team who volunteered to drive the bathing water bid forward so effectively.

The Nidd Action Group welcome the news of the bid’s success and will support and scrutinise the actions of the Environment Agency and Yorkshire Water to improve our river’s health in the long term.

We wish to keep the river as clean as practicable – not just for ourselves, but for all the communities that value the river and the wildlife which lives there. Thanks to the success of the bid we can look forward to a cleaner Nidd, fit for the future.


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