ILKLEY residents are invited to a public meeting next week to hear what can be done to help clean up the River Wharfe.

The Ilkley Clean River Campaign has called the meeting to hear what more can be done to prevent raw sewage discharging into the river in Ilkley from the town’s sewage plant.

The Ilkley Town Meeting: The Solution is Less Pollution, Protecting The Wharfe & Ilkley Environment, takes place on Wednesday, February 7 at Ilkley Grammar School from 5.30pm to 7.30pm.

Becky Malby, of The Ilkley Clean River Campaign, said: “This meeting is a chance to find out more about the issues and also see what we can do as a community. Anyone is welcome.”

The group has been trying to get to the bottom of the increasingly regular raw sewage discharges into the Wharfe at Ilkley sewage works for some time but have called the meeting in the face of slow progress.

Becky added: “Ilkley Town Council and Ilkley’s MP John Grogan have met with the Environment Agency (EA) and Yorkshire Water and have been active in trying to get the problem solved, but it’s proving to be one of those issues where its tricky to find out who is responsible and who should act. This meeting is to get to the bottom of who should be taking responsibility for the water quality in our river.

“Meanwhile we have found out that residents don’t know that Ilkley sewage plant discharges raw sewage into the Wharfe when it rains and the river is not designated for bathing and is contaminated.

“So the meeting will also inform residents about the current situation - which we think is unacceptable in a spa town. We have lots of stories of people getting sick after swimming in our river, we have hardly any fish, and we are in danger of permanently destroying our river.

“It’s not just Yorkshire Water and the EA that need to act, we can play our part as a town. As well as posing questions to the agencies and our representatives, there will also be an opportunity to discuss what more we can do as a town.

“All Ilkley residents are welcome and we are really pleased to also welcome the Yorkshire Rivers Trust, Friends of Ilkley Moor, The Wharfedale Naturalists, Wildlife Friendly Otley, Salmon and Trout Conservation, Addingham Environment Group and Wharfedale Tackles Plastics. We also want to thank Ilkley Grammar School for providing us with space to hold this meeting, and its commitment to the Town and environment.”

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