Sussex Tory MPs call for Southern Water’s wastewater treatment


SUSSEX MPs are calling on Southern Water to clean up its act after sewage was dumped into sea.

Thirteen Conservatives have called for action after it was discovered earlier this week that the water company was dumping sewage into the water.

A letter to Southern Water, co-signed by MEPs, said: “Once again, discharges of sewage are polluting rivers and coasts across Sussex.

“This is unacceptable and we were happy to support a Conservative amendment to the Environmental Code which, for the first time after decades of inaction by governments of all political persuasions, would legally require water companies to take steps to eradicate the practice. ”

The letter comes after sewage was pumped into the sea following recent storms and flooding.

A Southern Water spokesman said: “The incident at our Galley Hill pumping station caused pollution of beaches near Bexhill and this is clearly unacceptable. We will report our root cause analysis when complete and continue to engage with stakeholders, regulators and customers.

“Our Storm Overflow Task Force is already involved in industry-leading initiatives, and policy stakeholders will play a key role in driving the partnership working to implement the type of interventions — whether nature-based or engineered — needed to reduce our dependence on reduce storm outbreaks.”

However, of the 13 MPs who signed the letter, eight previously voted against legislation that would have imposed restrictions on companies to reduce waste being pumped into the sea.

Last year, an amendment to the environmental law was defeated by a vote of 265 to 202.

The MPs named in the letter who voted against the amendment are:

  • Maria Caulfield, Lewes
  • Nus Ghani, Welden
  • Mims Davies, Mid Sussex
  • Gillian Keegan, Chichester
  • Nick Gibb, Bognor Regis and Littlehampton
  • Sally-Ann Hart, Hastings and Rye
  • Henry Smith, Crawley
  • Andrew Griffith, Arundel and South Downs.

In response, Maria Caulfield said: “The Lords’ proposed amendment, which we voted against, was well intentioned but called for an immediate end to sewage discharges, which would have meant any overflow would have resulted in sewage entering homes, gardens and people’s homes would have been streets without an alternative system.”

Sally-Ann Hart did not comment on her previous vote, but said the discharge of sewage was “disgusting and totally unacceptable” and that “the resulting closure of beaches is having a huge impact on our communities and businesses”.

Since the 2021 vote, Ms Hart has campaigned with Surfers Against Sewage, calling on water companies to stop sanitation at some swimming areas.

Gillian Keegan said “claims that failure to support the previous Lords Amendment in October 2021 meant MPs voted in favor of discharge are dead wrong” and the Government is completing reports on eliminating discharge of sewage which are due in September.

Mims Davies added: “It was absolutely vital that MPs across Sussex held Southern Water accountable to account for recent water discharges ahead of these changes and to deliver the results for our communities that we all want.”

The other five MPs who signed the letter are Huw Merriman, Caroline Ansell, Tim Loughton, Jeremy Quin and Sir Peter Bottomley.

None of the others who voted against the amendment responded. Sussex Tory MPs call for Southern Water’s wastewater treatment

Fry Electronics Team

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