BRADFORD Council is being criticised for pollution in the River Wharfe at Ilkley.

The problem of raw sewage entering the river was discussed by Ilkley parish councillors following calls for stringent controls from Ilkley Angling Association.

Parish council chairman Brian Mann told members he was planning to meet with Yorkshire Water to discuss the issue- and Cllr Henri Murison argued there should also be a meeting with Bradford Council.

Last year a collapsed culvert caused an overflow of sewage into the Wharfe at Ilkley. Cllr Murison accused Bradford of knowing about the blocked culvert for some time before informing Yorkshire Water.

He said: "I do think as a council if we are going to challenge Yorkshire Water about their role we should be even handed. "

Ilkley Parish Council Vice chairman Stephen Butler said Yorkshire Water felt part of the problem was caused by blockages in gullies and drains which were not being cleared properly. He said debris was getting into culverts and Yorkshire Water was taking the blame when it was not their problem.

Ilkley Angling Association has been monitoring pollution since early 2016 and says the town is facing another year of raw sewage being discharged into the river. Both Yorkshire Water and the Environment Agency (EA) deny there is an on-going problem.

Earlier this year Ilkley councillor Martin Smith called for a revocation of the licence which allows sewage to enter the Wharfe from the Ashlands Road treatment works in heavy downpours of rain.

He also called on Yorkshire Water to prepare a holding tank to prevent sewage entering the river during flash flooding - and stressed the need for signs warning against swimming near the outflow.

He said problems were caused by rainwater from roofs, car parks and drives draining into the sewage works and he argued that this water needed to drain into a separate system.

In reply to Cllr Smith's comments Emily Brady from Yorkshire Water said: "The majority of properties in Ilkley are on a combined sewer system, meaning we take away and treat their waste water and rainwater, but there are some areas where the surface water is separated and either goes to a watercourse or ends up in our combined sewer. It’s usually our preference that storm water doesn’t enter our sewer network and we’ll continue to work with Bradford Council on future planning applications.

"Ilkley Waste Water Treatment Works is operating within the permit conditions set out by the Environment Agency.

In reply to the criticism at the parish council meeting a Bradford Council spokeswoman said: "The problem is with the Yorkshire Water waste treatment works and it is the Environment Agency who will be tackling it along with Yorkshire Water."