Bunhill: Barnsley turns to bottle at sight of clear water

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IT WAS a good week to launch a new bottled water from Barnsley, the Yorkshire town previously best known for its bitter, and for lying on the thickest seam of coal west of the Urals. The plan is to extract 5 million litres of water from a natural spring under the town that was first tapped by the Romans. Although the tap was turned off nearly a century and a half ago local aficionados claim that it is 'brimful of minerals and on a par with Perrier'.

The new supply will come in handy, particularly in Thirsk and Selby, where families have been forced to drink bottled water for up to three months after their tap water became discoloured with sediment caused by high levels of manganese.

Elsewhere in Yorkshire, polluted beaches are commonplace - Yorkshire Water was fined pounds 750,000 after it ruined the beach at Sandsend near Whitby by discharging raw sewage from it. And pity the poor inhabitants of the Yorkshire moors who were without running water for nearly two days last week as a result of an airlock, after Yorkshire Water's computers indicated that a reservoir was full when it was in fact empty.

No wonder the board of Yorkshire Water, under Sir Gordon Jones (pay: a mere pounds 156,000) is refusing to recommend the appointment as a director of Mrs Diana Scott, an embattled lady who believes that consumers should have a say in their water supply.