Clean River Campaign

Published: 22 August 2022

At present, raw sewage is discharged into the river periodically and after rainfall. This poses a health risk to people and animals. 
To ensure that our river in Boston Spa is clean enough to paddle, swim and play in, we are trying to get Designated Bathing Status for the river.
Bathing Water Designation can apply to coastal, transitional (estuary) or inland waters (lakes, rivers). Currently the UK has only ONE designated river whereas Germany has 38, Italy 73 and France a stonking 573! However, the UK does have 16 inland bathing waters designated - but they are all lakes.
To obtain designation from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) we have to prove that the public plays, paddles and swims in the river. To do so we are required to count people on the riverbank and playing in the river over the period 15th May to 30th September 2022. We are also taking long shot photos to back up our count as evidence.
Please help protect the River Wharfe & the environment in Boston Spa by supporting this campaign and completing a short survey – either fill in one of the paper survey forms or do it online by following this QR code:


If you wish to help with counting, please email