High levels of faecal bacteria in River Nidd confirmed
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Last updated Oct 27, 2023
The River Nidd at Knaresborough. Pic: Geograph / Mike Smith

A second round of water sampling on the River Nidd has confirmed high levels of the faecal bacteria E.coli.

Volunteers tested for E.coli levels along the length of the Nidd as part of a clean-up campaign amid concerns about the state of the river and reports of bathers at Knaresborough Lido suffering sickness and diarrhoea.

The first round of sampling took place in August and the laboratory results of the second round, which took place a fortnight ago, were released last week.

David Clayden, chairman of Nidd Action Group, which coordinated the sampling, said the latest results confirmed the previous findings, which showed concentrations of E. coli bacteria were above acceptable limits.

He added the locations identified as E.coli hotspots in August once again produced the most concerning results.

Tributaries in the middle and lower Nidd catchment, including Ripley Beck, Oak Beck and Crimple Beck, had the highest concentrations of E.coli, with Bilton Beck the worst.

Sampling at Oak Beck in August.

In general, concentrations of E. coli were much lower in the upper catchment of the river from Pateley Bridge to Birstwith, than in the middle and lower catchments.

Knaresborough sampling locations revealed concentrations above the levels deemed sufficient for inland bathing water.

The Nidd Action Group committee met on Friday to talk about next steps, which will include organising a second public meeting to discuss progress and plans for 2024.

Mr Clayden said the meeting will be held in Knaresborough in early December and would follow a similar format to the one staged in March this year.

Meanwhile, Andrew Jones, the Conservative MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, is expected to submit a bid to the government in the next few days to designate bathing water status on the Nidd.

If accepted, agencies will be obliged to undertake measures to clean the Nidd, as has happened on the River Wharfe in Ilkley.


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