Demand a bonus ban on the water company boss while the leaks continue

According to the Liberal Democrats, the bosses of WATER companies should be threatened with a bonus ban until the leaks are fixed.

The party said people in Sussex are “suffering” from hose bans, while water company bosses are still getting bonuses “despite not even bothering to fix leaks”.

Lewes MP James MacCleary has called on the government to ban bosses from receiving bonuses.

He said a recent sinkhole in Crouch Lane, Seaford, highlights “the failing infrastructure” of the private companies that manage the county’s water.

The Argus: A sinkhole in Crouch Lane, Seaford last week. Image by Nick MeldrumA hole in Crouch Lane, Seaford, last week. Image by Nick Meldrum

South East Water and Southern Water both said executives “must meet strict performance targets” to receive bonuses.

James MacCleary said: “When the ground opened up at Seaford, rats scurried out, water poured out and the appalling state of our water infrastructure was incredibly apparent.

“It’s wasteful and frankly not good enough. We need to invest in repair to avoid big cost and repairs in the future.

“It is outrageous that while thousands of people in Sussex are suffering from hose bans, water company bosses are rewarding themselves with these bonuses despite not even bothering to fix leaks.

The Argus: James MacCleary with Lib Dem leader Ed Davey at Seaford last monthJames MacCleary with Lib Dem leader Ed Davey at Seaford last month

Southern Water bosses have received £1,719,500 in bonuses over the past two years, according to Companies House records provided to The Argus by the Lib Dems.

South East Water executives received £645,823 over the same period.

According to the Environment Agency, UK water utilities lost more than two billion liters of water a day through leaks in the year to March 2021.

Argus: A pipe in West Beach, Lancing that has burst six times in one year. It last erupted in JulyA pipe in West Beach, Lancing that has burst six times in one year. It last erupted in July

The report added: “Although leaked water eventually returns to the natural environment, it increases extraction pressure and wastes the energy expended in treating and purifying the water.”

Residents of Woodingdean were without running water for almost 24 hours from Monday to midday yesterday.

A Southern Water spokesman said: “Executive salaries and bonuses are transparently disclosed in our annual report and executives must meet strict targets to receive bonus payments.

The Argus: The residents of Woodingdean were left with a trickle of water yesterdayResidents of Woodingdean were left with a trickle of water yesterday

“We fixed 22,000 leaks last year and installed 7,000 acoustic loggers across our 15,000 km network that can detect and locate leaks before they burst – even in deeply buried mains in rural areas where there are no signs on the surface.”

South East Water apologized for the pipe at Crouch Lane, adding that it was repaired a day after it burst and is working to refill the sinkhole.

A spokesman said: “South East Water’s annual report provides details of executive salaries and bonuses, and in order to receive bonus payments, executives must meet strict performance targets.

“As a result of very dry soil conditions and the resulting earth movement, we have seen a 50 percent increase in pipe bursts along our 9,000-mile mainline that runs deep underground beneath roads, highways, railroads, fields and rivers.

The Argus: The Sinkhole at Seaford over the weekend after the pipe was repairedThe Seaford sinkhole over the weekend after the pipe repair

“This network of pipes, strung together, would extend from England to Australia.

“The repair of all leaks and burst water lines will be prioritized based on the impact on customers and the amount of water that is wasted. We work with highway authorities and other utilities to minimize disruption and congestion that roadworks can cause while repairs are being carried out.

“Water is dense and in order to successfully transport it to homes and businesses we have to operate the system under immense pressure, so some leakage is inevitable.

The Argus: Firefighters drain sinkhole at Crouch Lane, SeafordFirefighters drain the sinkhole at Crouch Lane, Seaford

“Tackling leaks is a long-term challenge on which the industry has made good progress.

“In our service area, we were at an all-time low before the heatwave, having reduced the number of leaks in our region and meeting the target set by our regulator for the last 13 consecutive years.

“Nevertheless, we are increasing the resources available to combat leaks and expanding our leakage team by 20 percent.” Demand a bonus ban on the water company boss while the leaks continue

Fry Electronics Team

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