THE ILKLEY Clean River group has written to Environment Agency Chair Emma Howard-Boyd in advance of her visit to the town on June 9.

The group of residents are requesting a radical overhaul of the consent permit at Ilkley which they claim is currently a license to pollute. They say the consent as it stands requires Yorkshire Water to treat only a very small proportion of the combined sewage and allows the remainder to be “dumped” into the river.

The group claims the consent does not restrict the quantity of harmful bacteria, such as Escherichia coli, that can be discharged into the river in the effluent. It says water samples taken from the river downstream of the works, where people bathe, have been found to be between 30 and 40 times the levels considered to be acceptable.

Last month Emma Howard Boyd said: “The high standards in bathing waters on the coast have taken significant investment and decades of hard graft. Now we’ll coordinate similar effort following the ground-breaking decision to designate a stretch of the River Wharfe as a bathing river. This will require collaboration and innovation to reduce pollution and improve the local environment.