Protest against Southern Water after major sewage leak at Bulverhythe beach, St Leonards

A group of people are planning to hold a demonstration on St Leonards beach on Friday (August 20).

Wednesday, 18th August 2021, 2:23 pm
Burst sewage main down Cinque Ports Way, Bulverhythe Beach area, St Leonards. SUS-210730-105041001

The newly-formed Hastings and St Leonards Clean Water Action Group said it is organising the protest against Southern Water.

The move comes after the recent major sewage leak at Bulverhythe at the end of last month.

Campaigners are holding their protest near Azur between 5pm and 7pm.

They said they intend to show the utility company the ‘red flag’.

In July, Southern Water was fined a record £90 million for deliberately dumping sewage into the sea at 17 sites from Hampshire to Kent between 2010 and 2015.

Cllr Julia Hilton, Green Party borough councillor, said: “I call on our MP, and both Hastings and East Sussex County Council to demand a public meeting with the directors of Southern Water where they should lay out their immediate plans for ceasing all discharge of untreated sewage into our waters.

“It is time to put the safety and biodiversity of our rivers and coastal waters before shareholder dividends. Water is a public good and should never have been privatised.”

Southern Water was first sent to a burst pipe under the cycle path at Bulverhythe beach, Cinque Ports Way, on Wednesday, July 28. Two days later there was a second serious sewage leak which flooded nearby beach huts and affected the beach.

As a result, the area was cordoned off and closed throughout the weekend, and into the early part of the following week.

A Southern Water spokesman said: “Southern Water worked rapidly after a major sewer main broke close to Bulverythe beach.

“A fleet of tankers was deployed to manage flows so we could continue to provide wastewater services to customers and mitigate damage to the environment.

“Work to repair the burst was completed quickly and a full clean up instituted. We have pledged to recompense the owners of beach huts directly impacted by the incident and have remained in close contact with them.

“We also liaised closely with the council, local MP and key agencies, including the Environment Agency and Natural England throughout the incident.

“While events such as a broken pipe are hard to predict and hard to prevent, improving environmental performance is at the heart of Southern Water’s mission.

“With a new equity investment in the business, our current plans to invest £1.7 billion between 2020 and 2025 on improving our 367 wastewater treatment works, more than 3,000 pumping stations and 39,500km of network are being expanded and accelerated with an extra £235 million available.

“Our pollution incident reduction plan has the goal of halving incidents by 2025 and help us to target our spending where it will do most good.”

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