Sheep heads and goose carcasses among fly tipped waste at stream that feeds into Bradford drinking water supply

FLY tipping, including multiple sheep heads, dozens of goose carcases and soiled nappies, that has been dumped on the banks of a stream presents “a significant risk to the protection of Bradford’s public water supply.”

Yorkshire Water made the statement in reference to a huge amount of waste, which also includes paraphernalia from cannabis farms, that has been dumped alongside Nab Water, near Oxenhope, in recent months.

Water from the site feeds into the main supply of drinking water for Bradford.

Although the fly tipping is not thought to have caused any contamination so far – there are fears that repeated fly tipping could cause issues in the future.

Yorkshire Water describes the isolated rural site, in the heart of Bronte Country, is “a notorious illegal fly-tipping area.”

It is thought that the fly tippers drive to the site on Nab Water Lane, pull onto a layby and throw the waste down the steep banks that lead to the Nab Water stream.

The company says it has taken steps to try and prevent the waste from reaching the water, and Bradford Council recently placed boulders on the lay by to prevent vehicles from accessing the banks.

Five wagons of fly tipping removed from side of Keighley beck as part of clean up scheme

But the company says more still needs to be done to deter fly tippers.

And a local Councillor has described the fly tipping as “appalling behaviour” that needs to be “stamped down on as strongly as possible.”

This week Yorkshire Water submitted a planning application to fence off the site to prevent repeated fly tipping.

The application is for 100 metres of fencing separating Nab Water Lane and the stream, which would be 2.4 metres high.

It says: “Nab Water stream is a frequently used area for fly-tipping due to the steep ravine into which rubbish is strewn and two small layby areas which enable vehicles to temporarily park whilst dumping takes place.

“In early May, Yorkshire Water was alerted to an escalation in fly-tipping both in scale, frequency and content. This episode comprised of the following:

• 30 goose carcasses

• 3 sheep heads

• Multiple soiled nappies

• Cannabis plant cultivation materials

• Plant fertiliser containers

• 100+ black bin bags of other household waste

“The fly tipping is presenting a significant risk to the protection of the public water supply.

“Nab Water stream flows directly into the Stubden Catchwater conduit via the Nan Scar Intake. Water from the stream cannot be prevented from entering the conduit.

“Stubden catchwater flows directly to Stubden Reservoir which in turn supplies Chellow Heights WTW. Chellow Heights WTW is the sole supply of drinking water to Bradford.”

A “catch fence” has already been installed on Yorkshire Water land to prevent waste from reaching the stream.

The site is in Green Belt land, but the application points out that the fence would actually protect the environment from harmful fly tipping.

When asked about the fly tipping by the Telegraph & Argus Deborah Feldhaus, Head of Water Quality and Production at Yorkshire Water said: “The area has had issues with fly tipping for some time but this has escalated recently with more waste than normal being dumped and we have concerns this could impact the water going into the beck in future. We’ve been working with Bradford Council to find a solution and we hope the higher fencing will deter people from discarding waste in future. “We have a duty to look after all of Yorkshire’s water supply so our customers continue to receive excellent quality drinking water. “Nab Water, which is nearby, flows into one of our reservoirs which then pipes water to Chellow water treatment works where it is treated before supplying homes in Bradford. We take our job to look after Yorkshire’s water very seriously and these fences are designed to be there as an extra precaution. “If you spot any fly tipping please report it to Bradford Council immediately.”

Councillor Rebecca Poulsen (Cons, Worth Valley) is a ward councillor for the area, and said fly tipping is a recognised problem in some of the more rural areas.

In response to the fly tipping at the Nab Water site she said: “That particular area of Yorkshire Water land has been badly affected by fly tipping as well as other more rural parts of the district.

“Incidences of fly tipping increased during lockdown when the Household Recycling Centres were closed.

“The fly tipping has been tipped down the bank and it makes it very difficult to clear as well.

“Some of the items that have been dumped have been appalling. It is shocking behaviour and should be stamped down on as strongly as possible.

“Fencing shouldn’t have to be erected but due to the targeting of this area Yorkshire Water have had little choice in looking at all options.

“Yorkshire Water, District Councillors, Oxenhope Village Council and various Bradford Council departments are working together on a local campaign to reduce the incidences of fly tipping and increase reporting and prosecutions.

“We want to make it easier for people to know what to report and for the offenders to be prosecuted. There needs to be a strong message that this behaviour is unacceptable.”

A decision on the application is expected in early December.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus | News