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Water@Leeds water governance webinar series – A view from inside the Ilkley Clean River Campaign


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Ilkley Clean River Campaign

Last year, the Ilkley Clean River Group’s (ICRG) citizen-led campaign achieved a first for rivers in the UK – bathing water status for a stretch of the Wharfe, Yorkshire. As a key figure in the ICRG, Kathleen Roberts will share some of her experiences within this potentially transformative process.

Kathleen will be mainly talking about the Ilkley Clean River campaign but is happy to digress!

Kathleen will be joined in conversation with Charlotte Simons, agricultural scientist and Senior Catchment Partnership Officer for the Dales to Vale Rivers Network. Charlotte will discuss the iWharfe scheme which involves citizen science, community engagement and improving water quality of the Wharfe.  She will also touch on the recent Citizens Jury which was held on the River Wharfe

Kathleen Roberts is a founding member of Ilkley Clean River Group and has been campaigning against sewage discharges into the River Wharfe for the past five years. She is a former Wharfe Co-ordinator for the Riverfly Partnership, a national initiative hosted by the Freshwater Biological Association which trains volunteers to monitor invertebrate populations in order to help conserve habitats. She is also involved in iWharfe, a citizen science project led by Professor Rick Battarbee of the Environmental Change Research Centre at University College London intended to raise awareness about river water quality.

Charlotte Simons ( is an Agricultural Scientist with over 26 years’ experience in project management, conservation and land management. She joined the Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust in October 2016 as Senior Catchment Partnership Officer for the Dales to Vale Rivers Network. In her current role, Charlotte has developed partnership working in the Wharfe catchment including project management of the network, developing a new catchment management plan through community engagement and facilitating the development of new projects along the Wharfe.  In her previous roles at Natural England she has worked across teams to get consensus on protected Sites work, engaged external partners in Natural England’s work, project managed delivery of Agri-environment Schemes in Yorkshire and Humber and developed new ways to deliver schemes. Charlotte began her career as an Adviser on the first Countryside Stewardship Agri-Environment Scheme, developing schemes for farmers that integrated conservation in to land management practices.

Image Credit

Bathing in the Wharfe at Ilkley, Image author Tim Green aka atoach at Note: image has been cropped top and bottom.