Council demands action from Southern Water
After the appalling sewage leak at Bulverhythe two weeks ago, Hastings Borough Council is taking action to hold Southern Water to account and ensure the sewerage system, and also the clean water supply system, is fit for purpose, for everyone everywhere in Hastings.
This is our six-point plan:
- A letter is being sent to both the government and our MP expressing severe reservations about the performance of Southern Water and asking that urgent and serious consideration is given to returning the national water supply and drainage infrastructure to not for profit public ownership.
- We require Southern Water to commit to a correct methodology for the ongoing clean up at Bulverhythe, as agreed with both Natural England and the council.
- We are working with the Environment Agency to assess the damage caused by the leak and to establish clear culpability. This is important so that we can agree measures with Southern Water to prevent further similar incidents and to hold them to account for this leak. The Environment Agency will consider any penalties to be imposed on Southern Water.
- We are reviewing the actions taken by all agencies involved in the recent leak, including ourselves, to establish what worked well, what didn't and how we can improve our response to any future incidents.
- We are pressing Southern Water for further detailed communications with both the public and our beach hut owners so that the cleaning up process and future investment in our water is transparent for all.
- The leader of the council will meet Southern Water directors in October to review the ongoing action plan agreed with them at previous annual meetings, establish the extent of progress in cleaning up the system (especially where domestic supplies have been wrongly connected into surface water sewers that ultimately drain to the sea) and agreeing future priorities and levels of investment.
Cllr. Kim Forward, leader of the council, said,
"A fit for purpose sewerage system and clean water for drinking and domestic use system are basic human rights and we expect Southern Water to provide the highest quality of service to all our residents and businesses. There is no excuse for a lack of maintenance leading to sewage leaks which foul our roads and coastline.
"Hastings Borough Council will use all its powers and influence to hold Southern Water to account, and hope that our residents will support this with an ongoing campaign to scrutinise their performance. Please report any concerns about defective sewers., leaking pipes or other water issues to us on My Hastings, and we will use this data to press immediately for a better service and longer term for a sewerage and water supply system not managed by private companies for profit."