“FREQUENT curry pollution” was one of the issues a group dedicated to improving Bradford Beck uncovered in the past year.

The curry had been entering the water system from a food preparation facility in the city, leading to discoloured, smelly water along stretches of the beck.

The unusual incident of pollution is featured in the annual report of The Friends of Bradford Beck, which reveals that it led to an investigation by the Environment Agency.

It highlights one of the issues in keeping the beck clean – the pollution was not dumped maliciously, but rather the building’s drainage system historically emptied into the beck at Westbrook.

The business’s pipes have since been re-plumbed.

The annual report will also reveal that after eight years of lobbying, the group of residents and ecologists has convinced Yorkshire Water to review the capacity of Bradford’s sewers in its next investment period (2020-2025), subject to approval – a major victory for the voluntary organisation.

Bradford Council’s Environment and Waste Management Scrutiny Committee will discuss the report at a meeting this afternoon.

Last year the group had a number of “pollution hunting” projects.

Rob Hellawell, who was the group’s pollution hunter, told the Telegraph & Argus: “Most of the incidents were of sewerage getting into the beck. The sewers overflow into the becks a lot, it seems to happen every time it rains.

“With the curry incident it wasn’t malicious whatsoever, it was just a case of that business’s washing-up facilities draining into the beck. It should go into the foul water system, but in this case it had historically drained into the beck.


“Every time they washed up the curry got in there. After the weekend it was terrible.

“It is a problem all over Bradford, there are a lot of new extensions built where washing machines are plumbed into the drains rather than the foul sewerage system.

“Unfortunately like other groups, the Environment Agency doesn’t have the resources to investigate every single incident.

“It is great that we’ve been able to get Yorkshire Water to acknowledge the issue. Hopefully it will help improve the beck.”

The report also reveals that the group has stopped “actively seeking funding” for a listening sculpture in the city centre. The Friends group had gained planning permission for a sculpture on Tyrell Street that would allow people to listen to the beck passing underneath. But the report says seeking funding for the project would “consume too much of the group’s energy” and “distract” them from their priorities.

The scrutiny committee meets in City Hall today at 5.30pm.

The friends group carries out regular litter-picks along the beck, with the next taking place around Chellow Dene on Saturday, April 28. There are also regular guided walks around the beck.

For more information, visit bradford-beck.org/