UNITED Utilities has given Bolton Council the go-ahead to run water-based activities for young people at a reservoir — weeks after pulling the plug on Bolton Triathlon because of safety concerns.

The company has renewed the authority’s licence to allow it to stage activities for young people aged 13 to 19 and up to the age of 25 for those who have learning difficulties and/or disabilities.

The decision to allow children and young adults to take part in canoeing, kayaking, raft-building and sailing to take place at High Rid Reservoir has been welcomed by youth service chiefs. But it comes after United Utilities said it was reviewing whether “carefully controlled events give mixed safety messages to the public” about the dangers of reservoirs.

Although United Utilities did allow the international Ironman triathlon to use its waters, it opted to ban local triathletes from staging a competition at Rivington Reservoir.

Now the council will pay a fee of £500 to the company to use the beauty spot as an “outdoor classroom”, and is drawing up plans to expand the range of activities on offer.

United Utilities spokeswoman Helen Wilson said: “We don't allow public swimming at any of our reservoirs for safety reasons. However, where suitable, we do encourage other activities such as boating and fishing.

“Bolton Youth Services have boating rights at High Rid reservoir and we are pleased to be able to offer this amenity to the community."

A Bolton Council spokesman said: “The reservoir is a great place to promote learning outside the classroom.

“We work in partnership with United Utilities as part of their commitment to communities. We also work closely with primary and secondary schools, youth groups, voluntary and community groups and the facility is used by pupils of all levels. The feedback has been positive and we’ve had comments from the children and young people saying they found the activities to be challenging, exciting and different."

Organisers of Bolton Triathlon said they were in talks and working with United Utilities about the future of their event.