AN INVESTIGATION has concluded that Yorkshire Water "caused" an incident which saw part of Bradford Beck turn black with pollution.

The Bradford-based company has been given a written warning over the "discharge of sewage" into the watercourse – but a group set up to improve the quality of Bradford Beck is "frustrated" that stronger action was not taken.

The Environment Agency confirmed that it had taken the action following its investigation into pollution of the beck near Ambler Mill opposite Forster Square Retail Park.

Reports were made to the organisation on August 21 and Yorkshire Water was found to have been the cause of sewage flowing into the beck intermittently due to the blockage of a sewer overflow. It was repaired the following day.

The Friends of Bradford’s Becks have carried out their own investigation into the state of the beck in August, as dead fish were spotted near the site of a severe fire at Associated Waste Management in Canal Road. This was prior to the reports of sewage flowing into the beck. The Environment Agency, which believes the fish kill was down to a natural event where there are low levels of oxygen in the water, is currently reviewing the Friends’ report.

Yorkshire Water confirmed it had put measures in place to prevent a similar failure happening again.

But Barney Lerner, of FOBB, expressed concerns that the firm was not to receive any “punishment” over what he described as a “catastrophic pollution incident”.

“Yorkshire Water have admitted that they caused it, and we can provide plenty of evidence of the ecological impact.”

He added: “FOBB have been working hard for the last eight years to make Bradford Beck an asset for our city, only to have our efforts thwarted by problems with the sewer system. It is very frustrating.”

Rob Hellawell, a member of FOBB and the person who first spotted the pollution, is behind the Friends’ report which found that when they checked for invertebrates at the beginning of September, the beck was healthy upstream of the city centre, but that it was almost completely devoid of life downstream.

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “Having investigated reports of pollution to Bradford Beck on 21 August, we have issued a written warning to Yorkshire Water after it was found to have caused an intermittent discharge of sewage following a partial blockage from a combined sewer overflow.

“In the event of repeated pollution incidents, we would consider taking further enforcement action.”

A spokesman for Yorkshire Water said: “After a thorough investigation we found a failure on one of our assets near to Bradford Beck.

“We take our environmental responsibilities extremely seriously and have put measures in place to prevent similar failures in the future. We are co-operating fully with the Environment Agency which is carrying out its own investigation."