Bexhill and Battle MP criticises South East Water for response to supply issue

Huw Merriman, MP for the Bexhill and Battle, has criticised South East Water for its response to water supply issues in the villages of Hurst Green, Robertsbridge, Mountfield and Etchingham.

Huw Merriman, MP for the Bexhill and Battle, has criticised South East Water for their response to water supply issues in the villages of Hurst Green, Robertsbridge, Mountfield and Etchingham. Picture from South East Water Twitter.
Huw Merriman, MP for the Bexhill and Battle, has criticised South East Water for their response to water supply issues in the villages of Hurst Green, Robertsbridge, Mountfield and Etchingham. Picture from South East Water Twitter.

South East Water engineers have been on-site to fix the leaks, but the MP has said the company has made access to bottled water supplies difficult for those living in the rural villages.

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The only bottled water station was set up in Flimwell, some miles away from impacted residents. Mr Merriman has said that arrangements should have been made to transport bottled water stations to every impacted village.

He said: “I understand that infrastructure can erode but during Storm Eunice, at the beginning of the year, water supplies were cut off to hundreds of homes and access to bottled water was sporadic, especially for those in rural areas.

"Utility companies, including South East Water, came in for heavy criticism from me and my colleagues for their response. These incidents should act as a lesson. It appears from this incident, that they have not learnt any lessons if only one bottled water station has been set up in a village miles from many of those impacted.

“It really is time for some answers from South East Water as to why they think their response is adequate. I am told they can only get the supply lorry to Flimwell due to the road network. If that is the case, and I question this as other HGVs get to our villages, they could employ smaller vehicles to move the water to each village.

"I also want to know if they have been speaking to the Sussex Resilience Forum. The Forum, which comprises all of our local authorities and emergency services, has not communicated on the issue yet is best placed to identify vulnerable customers who need water delivered.

“It is time for utility companies to come up with a better plan to support rural communities impacted by serious issues. I have suggested to the CEO of South East Water that the parish council network should be engaged from the outset of any incidents.

"Parish councils know their communities best. They can help mobilise support for the most vulnerable households at times of crisis but they can only do this if information is shared with them.”

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