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River Ure

Statement on river quality in the Yorkshire Dales National Park

Monday 24 June, 2024, by News Release

Member Champion for Natural Environment at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Mark Corner, said: 

“The Authority really welcomes the citizen science groups being set up to try to raise awareness of river quality on the Ure, Swale and Wharfe.  People told us recently that improving river water quality is one of their top three priorities for the National Park. There are widespread national concerns about river pollution and local evidence-gathering is going to be really important.  

“Our National Park Management Plan partners, the Environment Agency, report that 51% of ‘water bodies’ in the Yorkshire Dales National Park are in good ecological condition.  Although higher than the England average, that’s cold comfort.  It is clear that, as elsewhere, there is too much pollution entering the becks.  The National Park Management Plan Partnership has recognised that little or no progress is being made on improving the condition of rivers in the National Park

“The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, as the local planning authority, has limited powers in regard to conserving river water quality.   In the National Park, Yorkshire Water and United Utilities are responsible for dealing with sewage and foul water. These companies are subject to a regulatory system that is separate from planning.  The Environment Agency is the body responsible for river health and for enforcement.  

“The main cause of river pollution in the National Park is run-off from farmland.  Since 2009 the National Park Authority and Natural England have been working with farmers through initiatives such as Catchment Sensitive Farming to try to help reduce this pollution.”

Regarding planning consent granted in 2023 for 15 hotel lodges and facilities on land at Aysgarth Falls Hotel, near the river Ure, Mr Corner added:

“The development proposal includes separate systems for dealing with foul water and surface water.  Surface water run-off will be drained to an on-site attenuation pond that will gradually release water over a longer time frame.

“Yorkshire Water was a statutory consultee.  It said it had no objections to the proposal, having considered the capacity of its Aysgarth Falls facilities.”

Picture of News Release

News Release

Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority


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