Yorkshire Water is a utility company which provides 1.7m households and 140,000 businesses with water and sewerage services. It is ‘serious about the protection of our environment’ with a multi-million pound investment programme in environmental improvements.
It is also the regions largest landowner, owning 72,000 acres of land. Most of its reservoirs are on the eastern fringes of the Pennines and a number are within the Wharfedale Naturalists’ area.
Yorkshire Water is currently opening up areas for public access. Predominantly woodland, the public currently have to follow dedicated footpaths and Public Rights of Way when visiting. However by voluntarily dedicating these areas as open access land, the company aims to give walkers the freedom to roam freely wherever they want. One of the seven areas it has identified as suitable for public access is Washburn Valley Woods.
Some of the reservoirs are managed with birds in mind. At Eccup, over the edge of our area, you can see Red Kites, one of the most beautiful birds of prey in Europe. The individual reservoir pages have access details and ‘walk packs’:
The company reports to three agencies which monitor its performance, the Drinking Water Inspectorate, the Environment Agency and the Office of Water Services. It has undertaken a monitoring programme of fisheries, macro-invertebrates and macrophytes on the Rivers Ure, Ouse and Wharfe.