FLOOD campaigners are claiming Yorkshire Water is “flushing money down the toilet” rather than dealing with ageing sewerage systems.

Brawby resident Simon Thackray, who has campaigned for a number of years over issues in the village, said the company, was “squandering” water rate payers’ money, while many treatment plants were on the brink of failure.

“In the week that Yorkshire Water announced its £500,000 sponsorship of the Yorkshire Festival 2014, it has pumped more money into new high security surveillance equipment at the Brawby sewage treatment works,” he said.

“This latest move by Yorkshire Water is being described as a cynical response to the real needs of its customers, and an obscene waste of money by campaigners in Brawby, who are still waiting for Yorkshire Water to carry out necessary remedial engineering to prevent the sewer from backing-up into the village street and causing pollution.”

Mr Thackray said it was a mystery as to why Yorkshire Water had suddenly installed this equipment.

“Yorkshire Water is flushing money down the toilet. One minute they plead poverty, and the next they invest half a million pounds in a bike festival that will result in some of the roads around Harrogate and Leeds being made like new.

“Meanwhile, Yorkshire Water knows that there are sewage treatment plants in Brawby and other upmarket Ryedale villages on the brink of failure and yet it is squandering water rate payer’s money on self-serving tourism sponsorship initiatives.

“It is doing all this to defect attention away from bad publicity, while its ageing sewerage facilities are being left to rot unseen.”

Mr Thackray added: “If Yorkshire Water focused its cameras on the problematic discharge ditch in Brawby, it would be much better informed and able react when the sewer is in danger of backing-up.”

A Yorkshire Water spokesman said it was routine for the firm to install CCTV or other security measures at its sites around the region, especially those in more remote areas.

“The new equipment at Brawby is simply part of this county-wide fight against crime at our sites.

“Thanks to our proactive stance on security, the cost of thefts from our sites or of our assets has reduced by nearly 90 per cent in the last year, and we’re keen to continue this trend,” said the spokesman.

“Following extensive investigations we are quite satisfied that the sewer in Brawby is working as it was designed to. A multi-agency plan is in place which means that when the river reaches a specified level a pump will be sent to the village to help deal with that potential flood risk.

“We are also in the process of scoping and arranging other work related to our treatment works in Brawby, including liaising with the local drainage board about clearing the ditch which runs to it.”

The spokesman said that the money for sponsorship of the Tour de France had actually come from the parent company, Kelda Group, which is made up of a number of companies.