Investigation into Bradford Beck pollution is re-opened

By Chris Young

Local Democracy Reporter

Investigation into Bradford Beck pollution is re-opened

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THE ENVIRONMENT Agency has re-opened an investigation into an incident where a large amount of pollution seeped into Bradford Beck.

The incident has been described by the Friends of Bradford's Becks as the “lowest low” the group has experienced.

In August a large amount of pollution seeped into the beck near Ambler Mill opposite Forster Square Retail Park, turning it black and allegedly killing wildlife.

An investigation by the Environment Agency found that Yorkshire Water had been the cause of sewage flowing into the beck intermittently due to the blockage of a sewer overflow.

The company was given a written warning and confirmed it had put measures in place to prevent a similar failure happening again.

However, the Friends of Bradford's Becks felt more action should have been taken against the company.

Yorkshire Water gets written warning for 'causing' sewage pollution incident that turned Bradford Beck black

They pushed for the investigation to be re-opened, and now the Environment Agency has confirmed they have done that.

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: “I can confirm that we are investigating an historic pollution incident at Bradford Beck.”

There was no indication when the investigation would be concluded.

Yorkshire Water said it was unable to comment on a live investigation.

Details of the incident will be included in an annual report by the Friends group that will go before Bradford Council on Tuesday, April 16. The Regeneration and Environment Scrutiny Committee will hear what the group has been up to over the past year. The report describes the pollution incident as “the lowest low we have had on Bradford Beck since FOBB started in 2012.”

The group has also taken part in a number of talks, litter-picks, and even played a major role in the water themed Bubble Up Festival last year.

Highlights of the past year include moving forward to bring more life into the beck. The report says: “A collaboration between the Environment Agency, Bradford Council, ourselves and the Wild Trout Trust will see work begin in 2019 to improve the ecology and riverside of the beck between the River Aire at Shipley and Briggate. Weirs and bridges will be altered to make it easier for fish to pass upstream, the morphology will be improved to enable fish and invertebrates to live there more easily, and bankside improvements will be made.”

The group’s work to gather evidence on pollution has led to Yorkshire Water agreeing to carry out two investigations of the Bradford sewer system starting in in April 2020. The first is called “Bradford Beck catchment investigation” and the objective will be “to understand the polluting inputs to the Bradford Beck system and their impact on the ecology, working in partnership with local interest groups, and to produce a detailed strategy for reducing pollution and improving ecological status.”

The second study is to analyse whether the system meets the standards for intermittent discharges in wet weather.

The Committee meets in City Hall at 5.30pm

Anyone who sees pollution in the Beck or another body of water can call the Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 60.”