I’ve been campaigning on the issue of Southern Water discharges for several years, both locally and in Parliament.
In Westminster, I’ve supported the objectives of the Sewage (Inland Waters) Bill that called for a reduction in stormwater discharges. Locally, I’ve set up the Hayling Island Environment Forum to work with local residents’ groups to keep up the pressure on Southern Water.
This work is now producing positive results. The Government’s Storm Overflows Taskforce has recently set water companies the long-term goal of eliminating harmful discharges from storm overflows and improve water quality.
I have been pressuring Southern Water to set out their plan to meet these new targets so discharges into Langstone Harbour and Chichester Harbour are reduced and eventually ceased, especially after heavy rainfall.
Storm overflows are used during extreme weather to prevent sewers becoming overloaded with a combination of sewage and rainwater, releasing diluted wastewater rather than letting it back up into people’s homes and businesses.
Following the announcement, I wrote to Southern Water’s Chief Executive asking how they plan to eliminate storm overflows and what other action they will take locally. I also met the Environment Minister to secure her support for our local work tackling Southern Water.
I followed-up by meeting Southern Water’s Chief Executive, and I will be expanding my work on this issue by launching a new regional forum where I have secured the co-operation of other MPs, councils and community groups from across our region. Together, we will keep up the pressure on Southern Water.
Updates on my work can be found below.