THE Ilkley Clean River campaign is continuing to pressure Yorkshire Water and the Environment Agency to clean up the river in Ilkley so that it is fit to play, paddle and swim in.

Over 60 people met to review the Ilkley Clean River Group’s data and to challenge the authorities last week. Feargal Sharkey, a national campaigner, known as lead singer in the Undertones, Skyped the meeting with a message that the agencies need to take heed of legislation and clean up their acts.

With 123 days in 2018 when raw sewage was discharged the group wants the sewage plant in Ilkley upgraded to cope with the normal sewage inflow and only to discharge raw sewage in compliance with the European Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive, which says that sewage should only be discharged into rivers in exceptional circumstances. The group says every third day is not exceptional and the group knows that Yorkshire Water is not complaint.

A spokesperson said: “As a spa town which attracts large amounts of tourists in hot weather, we are calling for a clean environment for both people and the river’s natural flora and fauna. On the 29th June 750 people were counted playing, paddling and swimming in the river. Yorkshire Water is failing to maintain the sewage system with manholes spilling sewage when it rains. Incident reports and videos can be seen here

Public pressure is vital to the group securing a clean river for Ilkley, as water monitoring by the Agencies has been spasmodic, and vital upgrades are not happening fast enough.”