Community campaigners and an MP have demanded urgent action over sewage spills blighting a beauty spot in Sheffield.
Local residents branded Yorkshire Water ‘disgraceful’ after it refused to fix drainage problems at Shirtcliffe Valley due to budget restraints.
For some time, heavy rain has been causing raw sewage to leak across public footpaths in the area.
In recent weeks wet weather has resulted in rags and litter being washed downstream, while overflowing sewage has carved a runnel into brambles.
Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts wrote to water bosses to highlight the problem, after which chief executive Richard Flint told him ‘all options for a solution are currently unaffordable’.
Mr Betts said: “The response is totally unacceptable.
“Yorkshire Water claims that all the options for a solution are unaffordable, but gives no indication of the estimated costs of any scheme.
“In any event, raw sewage flowing across public footpaths is simply unacceptable.
“Coming to clear it up after each event, if the public complain, is not an appropriate action. I find it difficult to believe that this would be the response if it was happening adjacent to the chief executive’s home.
“Remember this is Yorkshire Water, which last year made an operating profit of £331 million, after increasing bills by 6.6 per cent.”
Mr Betts has written another letter demanding urgent action. He plans to take the issue to regulators Ofwat.
Pat Howells, of the Friends of Shirtcliffe Valley, said: “Yorkshire Water’s response is disgraceful.
“Yet again this week sewage is strewn over whole sections of the valley and across public footpaths.
“The company is showering shareholders with money, while allowing the Shirtcliffe Valley to be showered with sewage.
“If an individual behaved like Yorkshire Water, it would be served with an ASBO.”