Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones has teamed up with Meridian Parks, owner of the 550 holiday-home Knaresborough Lido, to campaign for better water quality in the River Nidd.
A public footpath runs through the Lido along the banks of the Nidd where many people swim in the water. Mr Jones is calling for the area to be designated as a Bathing Water Quality Area. This means that the Environment Agency will need to monitor the quality of the water and work with other stakeholders to put in place plans to improve it.
Mr Jones commented: “River water quality is affected by a number of factors. If our sewerage system is overloaded or blocked then safety valves called Combined Sewer Overflows empty into our rivers. These were installed in Victorian times but are operating more frequently now as we get more extreme weather and put more blockage-causing wet wipes and fat down our toilets and drains.
“But there is also run-off from agricultural land which carries pesticides and animal waste into the water and chemical pollution that occasionally happens – most recently an unidentified spill into Oak Beck. Exacerbating this is the water draining from impermeable land on new housing estates which should have better on-site water storage.
“So it is going to be a team approach to fix the water quality and it is great to have Meridian Parks putting their weight behind the campaign.”
Andrew is writing to residents and businesses near the banks of the Nidd to let them know about the campaign and enlist their support. The opportunity to bid to be designated as a Water Bathing Quality Area comes after extensive surveys of swimmers and river users have taken place and those surveys must be undertaken between 15 May and 30 September. This means no application can be made before summer 2023. In the meantime Mr Jones will be enlisting the support of more residents and businesses in preparation for that application.
Frank Maguire owner of the 140-acre site added: “Our holiday homes are really popular among river swimmers and anglers. That’s one reason why we are backing this campaign. But it is also that we all need to protect and enhance our natural environment. Improving the water quality in the Nidd will benefit our guests and also the cafes, homes and businesses along the river’s length.
“The beautiful river setting is something our guests enjoy. It is part of their daily experience when staying in our holiday homes. That setting is enjoyed too by the many visitors to the Watermill Café and the serious and casual walkers who use the public footpath.
“Improving the water quality will benefit so many and that’s why we should all get behind this initiative.”