Exposed Area of the Beck Nr Butler Lane
Barnsley Beck in Baildon is Being Used as a Sewer Without Warning Residents.
Parish Councillor Ian Lyons has spoken out after health concerns were raised about Barnsley Beck in Baildon, and authorities failed to warn the public of the danger passing by residents homes.
Cllr Ian Lyons
The first duty of anyone in authority is to protect the people they serve. My first concern was the safety of people that live in my Ward. So, I’ve spoken to every household I could over the last two days, who were totally unaware, and everyone was very grateful to be warned, especially the families with young children that have been playing there.
In a letter to the Conservative MP for Shipley, in January, the Environment Agency confirmed that Barnsley Beck is being used as a sewer overflow by Yorkshire Water with their consent. A copy of the letter can be read here.
In the letter, Mark Scott, Yorkshire Area Manager for the Environmental Health Agency, admits that his officers have advised one resident not to continue entering the Beck, but it now appears that no attempt was made by anyone to contact other households that are affected. Mr Scott also states that Yorkshire Water should be contacted to clear debris in future.
Shifting the Blame
However, Richard Flint, Yorkshire Water’s chief executive, said:
The cleaning and maintenance of this watercourse is the responsibility of the local Council or the riparian owner (the owner of the land it passes through).
The full letter can be read here.
Exposed area of Barnsley Beck, Nr Whitelands Road
Taking Action, Taking Responsibility
Cllr Ian Lyons called for an investigation, to discover the facts, after residents complained of health problems, and a reduced flow in the Beck. A meeting was held in private at the Parish Council on the 11th March, where he asked for the public to be warned about the sewer with a press release. However, the request fell on deaf ears.
Cllr Lyons said:
Cllr Ian Lyons
In my view, this adds weight to the argument for only elected Parish and Town Councillors. I felt a duty to warn people, regardless of the consequences, because I am a representative of the people on the Council, and not the other way round. Unaccountable politicians should have no place in taxation or representation.
The next step in this matter is unclear because no-one appears to be taking responsibility. Some residents have suggested that, if the Beck is going to continue being used as a sewer, it must be covered up, like the rest of it. This would allow their gardens to be extended, the health risk removed, and the value of their homes to be maintained.
Watch the Telegraph and Argus Video Here.
Let us know what you think!