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RESERVOIR YOBS; Yorkshire Water and police set for major crackdown.

Byline: NEIL ATKINSON

TOUGH new bye-laws to ban anti-social behaviour at local reservoirs are on the cards.

Yorkshire Water chiefs want to ban people from swimming in their reservoirs to improve safety.

But they also want to curb problems with dog-fouling, flytipping and lighting fires.

They would be the first water company to bring in such tough measures.

Two Calderdale reservoirs - Baitings and Ryburn - are included in the first batch of 10 earmarked for a pilot scheme along with police.

But it is likely all other YW reservoirs, including many in Huddersfield, will be included in the crackdown in future.

Yorkshire Water insists it wants to protect both the environment and the safety of visitors at some of the region''s top beauty spots.

The other sites in the pilot scheme are Codbeck near Osmotherley, in North Yorkshire, Ogden and Mixenden in Halifax, Rivelin and Agden in Sheffield, Ardsley near Leeds, Widdop in Hebden Bridge and Underbank in Stocksbridge.

A company spokesman said they hoped that the introduction of a bye-law prohibiting anyone from entering its reservoirs will help to protect lives and ensure no one dies.

The scheme comes on the back of more than a dozen incidents this summer where people have put their lives in grave danger by swimming or playing in reservoirs - despite repeated warnings by the company that someone will die.

One notable problem was at Digley in Holmfirth, where children ignored danger signs to clamber on overflows.

The bye-laws will also prohibit the consumption of alcohol, overnight camping and the lighting of fires and barbecues, dangerous driving, littering and flytipping.

Another byelaw will also be introduced prohibiting dog fouling - a major problem at some of the company''s sites.

Water company officials will tour the sites to enforce the laws with warnings and, if necessary, with prosecution. Police patrols will also be asked to help.

Hazel Clemmit, recreation officer at Yorkshire Water, said: "We've spent millions opening up some of our stunning reservoir sites, which attract thousands of people every week who use them for their enjoyment.

"Sadly, despite our best efforts, the irresponsible behaviour of a small minority can on occasion ruin it for the majority.

"People should be left in no doubt that we will enforce these byelaws in order to preserve our sites, protect water supplies and ensure the vast majority of people who are doing the right thing can continue to enjoy and make the most of them."

Sgt Neil Northend said: "There are serious messages behind the bye-laws, not least to save people''s lives.

"Tragically, we have seen two people die in the past after entering the reservoir.

"It''s important that people are aware of the bye-laws and the orders for their own and other people''s safety and enjoyment."

CAPTION(S):

* CRACKDOWN: Baitings Dam at Ripponden and right: YW warden Colin Winterburn, who has been confronted with bags of dog mess in trees
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 1, 2012
Words:482
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