Ed Davey calls for River Nidd to be given special protection from sewage

Sir Ed Davey has called for the River Nidd in North Yorkshire to get Blue Flag status in order to protect it from the sewage scandal engulfing England’s waterways.

Analysis by the Liberal Democrats reveals that the River Nidd has seen 12,455 hours of sewage pumped into it in the last year, up by over 50 per cent from 2022.

The party’s leader attacked the Government and local MPs for failing to protect Harrogate’s rivers from sewage dumping.

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During a visit to the Lib Dem target seat of Harrogate and Knaresborough, he called for the Nidd to be given Blue Flag status to protect it for future generations.

Sir Ed Davey and the Lib Dem candidate for Harrogate, Tom GordonSir Ed Davey and the Lib Dem candidate for Harrogate, Tom Gordon
Sir Ed Davey and the Lib Dem candidate for Harrogate, Tom Gordon

Harrogate is one of two target seats in Yorkshire for the Liberal Democrats, who are also challenging Labour for its seat of Sheffield Hallam.

Under the Blue Flag policy, the River Nidd would be given special protections from pollution where water companies would face punitive fines, with the party calling it a “step further” than bathing water status.

Data shows that the river was subject to 1,083 sewage dumps in 2023, up by 375 on the previous year, up by 375 from last year, making it the 31st most dumped-into river across the entire country.

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“The sewage scandal continues to rumble on and it’s local people who are being let down,” said Sir Ed.

“The government has failed to get a grip on this environmental catastrophe despite having endless chances to do so. What’s worse is that Conservative MPs have constantly failed to support measures which would tackle this crisis.

“Harrogate and Knaresborough need a strong local MP with the energy and enthusiasm to get to grips with the sewage crisis we are seeing and I know Liberal Democrat Tom Gordon is the best person to do just that.

Mr Tom Gordon added: “It is shameful and shocking that our local waterways and rivers have had hours and hours of filthy sewage poured into them, and the buck stops with the Government.”