Yorkshire Water donates £235,000 to Yorkshire Wildlife Trust over Harrogate sewage dump

The water company agreed to pay the money after sewage was dumped through a storm overflow on a dry day. Credit: PA

Yorkshire Water has agreed to donate £235,000 to the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust after it dumped sewage in a beck in Harrogate.

The company breached its environmental permit when a storm overflow polluted Hookstone Beck in August 2015.

Under the permit, sewage is allowed to be dumped when there is rainfall or snow melt but the company illegally used it during dry weather, leading to sewage fungus on the bed of the beck.

Yorkshire Water submitted an enforcement undertaking - a voluntary offer made by companies or individuals to make amends for their offending - which was accepted by the Environment Agency.

Claire Barrow, of the Environment Agency, said: "Sewage pollution can be devastating to human health, local biodiversity and our environment. Storm overflows must only be used under strict permitted conditions that control their environmental impact.

"We are holding the water industry to account like never before and while we will always take forward prosecutions in the most serious cases, Enforcement Undertakings are an effective enforcement tool to allow companies to put things right and contribute to environmental improvements."

Yorkshire Water has since upgraded its technology to allow continuous monitoring of the storm overflow at Hookstone Beck.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust says it will use the donation to make environmental improvements such as native crayfish work in North Yorkshire and reed bed management at Ripon City Wetlands.