BYELAWS are to be introduced at three beauty spots in Sheffield to improve public safety and the environment.
Yorkshire Water is trying to stop people risking their lives in reservoirs at Rivelin, Agden near Bradfield and Underbank in Stocksbridge – and is clamping down on the drinking of alcohol, overnight camping, the lighting of fires and barbecues, littering, flytipping and dog fouling on their shores.
A pilot scheme will see the company and police patrolling the areas – and prosecuting offenders who ignore repeated warnings. They can even be banned, where necessary.
Yorkshire Water says it is becoming increasingly concerned that the actions of a small minority are putting lives at risk or harming the environment.
Over the summer there have been more than a dozen incidents in which people have put their lives at risk by swimming or playing in reservoirs, despite danger signs.
A byelaw is also being used to combat the persistent problem of dog owners not clearing up after their dogs.
There are also regular cases of people hanging their dog mess in trees.
In addition to the three locations in Sheffield, the byelaws will cover Codbeck near Osmotherley, Ogden and Mixenden in Bradford, Widdop in Hebden Bridge, Ardsley near Leeds, Baitings near Ripponden and Ryburn near Ripponden.
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, whether it be for exercise or simply to take advantage of some of the stunning views they offer. Sadly, despite our best efforts, the irresponsible behaviour of a small minority can on occasion ruin it for the majority.
“We hope that these byelaws will encourage people to do the right thing and adhere to the rules, without us having to use them punitively.
“However, if and when we need to, people should be left in no doubt that we will enforce them 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.”