Surfers Against Sewage at Aysgarth Falls











A Surfers Against Sewage  (SAS) team paid a visit to Aysgarth Falls on the morning of Thursday June 20 2024 to find out about pollution in the River Ure. (Above from left: Ann McKelvey,  Chloe Flood, Kirsty Davies,  Katie Bone and Richard Loukota).

They were invited by Prof Richard Loukota, the interim chair of the group being formed to campaign against the pollution of the River Ure and its tributaries.

Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) has embarked on an Election Road Trip travelling the length of the UK  to galvanise communities to demand election candidates to end sewage pollution. It wants to take the sewage debate to political, sewage and surfing hotspots.

It was invited by Save Our Swale (SOS)  to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s constituency to hold one of its hustings at Richmond on Friday evening (June 21 2024).  The CEO of Surfers Against Sewage, Giles Bristow, commented: ‘Local activists [in Swaledale] have been fighting to clean up their favourite beauty spot.’

In Wensleydale Aysgarth Falls is a key beauty spot but  the Association of Rural Communities, which has sponsored the creation of the River Ure group, has pointed out that the Falls are affected by raw sewage discharges.

With its brightly painted open-top double-decker battle bus (see below)  its team on Thursday (Ann McKelvey,  Chloe Flood, Kirsty Davies and Katie Bone) were delighted to be able to visit the Upper Falls at Aysgarth where they were met by Richard and others keen to see an end to the pollution of the River Ure.

Richard said: ‘Surfers Against Sewage are very keen to have safe water for everyone and they have been incredibly supportive of Save Our Swale.  They have kindly offered their support with everything you need to know when you are setting up a group. ‘

He added that many of the visitors at the Falls that day did not realise how much the River Ure was polluted, both from sewage and also agricultural run-off.

Having a River Ure group will, he added, help them to work collaboratively not only with SOS, the Nidd Action Group and  the Ilkley Clean River Group but also nationally with others such as Surfers Against Sewage. ‘We are struggling together,’  he said. And that included those who had become ill swimming in rivers.

He hoped an online database for rivers could be developed similar to the Surfers Against Sewage one for our seas and oceans.   ‘I think the pollution of the rivers is becoming something people are concerned about and it is going to affect their voting,’ Richard commented.

(Below: The SAS battlebus with Aysgarth church in the background)

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