West Yorkshire wild swimming spot first in Britain to be granted ‘bathing water’ status

It will become the first ever official river bathing site in England

Part of the River Wharfe in Ilkley is amongst the first in the country to be officially designated as an official bathing site by Defra.

It will become the first river bathing site in England, which locals say will in turn help to make the water safer for swimmers.

A public consultation ran for three months on designating the area of the River Wharfe, which runs between Ilkley Main Bridge and Beanlands Island.

It’s long been a popular swimming and paddling spot for locals and visitors to the area. Now, it’s official.

Yorkshire swimming spot to get bathing water status in UK first | Rivers |  The Guardian
River Wharfe

The decision follows months of campaigning from residents and means that Yorkshire Water will no longer be able to release raw sewage into the river.

This had previously been done during heavy rainfall to protect homes and roads from flooding but caused concerns for swimmers at the popular spot.

Now, thanks to the new designation, Yorkshire Water and the Environment Agency will have to regularly test the water for pollution and alert people when it is not safe.

The hope is that this will help avoid a repeat of scenes from this summer, which saw swimmers bathing in waters containing dangerous levels of bacteria.

Wild swimming is a popular pastime in the UK and it’s good to see that campaigning efforts have been effective in helping to keep people safe.

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