Bognor Regis residents to protest Southern Water sewage dumps
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Protestors will gather on the beach, opposite The Waverley pub, at 2pm on Sunday, June 11, in order to advocate for a ‘safe, clean beach’ amid what organisers have called ‘near-constant’ sewage releases by Southern Water.
Meeting opposite the pub, protestors will march down to the bandstand, where the rally will continue and speeches will be made. Participants and passers-by will also be invited to sign a petition to Bognor Regis and Littlehampton MP Nick Gibb, as well as Southern Water, urging them to put a stop to sewage dumps.
"Our beach is unsafe to use and that is damaging our tourism economy and putting residents’ health at risk,” protest organiser Heather Robbins said. “As Southern Water is a failing monopoly, we are powerless as consumers: we cannot change water provider to protest this disgusting scandal.
"We can only protest and petition MP Nick Gibb to ensure Southern Water invests in our town's infrastructure instead of using our money to line its owners' pockets. So that is what we must do."
This protest continues a precedent set last year, when a similar demonstration, also on Bognor Regis beach, attracted more than 500 participants. Organisers are hoping this year will be even bigger.
A spokesperson for Southern Water said: “We understand the concerns of members of the public who are protesting. Just like our customers, we care deeply about the health of our rivers and seas,
“So we’re investing significant money and resources, building bigger infrastructure, using innovative technology and natural solutions, to improve it. ”
The water company announced an ambitious Turnaround Plan earlier this year in a bid to improve their track-record on environmental issues by 2025. It includes a promise to deliver healthy rivers and seas by building resilience in the wastewater network, digitalising the network to reduce pollution and flooding, and upskilling employees to ensure they are better equipped to deal with incidents.
June’s protest also comes after a major operation to repair a burst sewage pipe last week, which saw Southern Water authorise six sewage releases in Bognor Regis bathing sites as flow was transported from the burst pipe near Yapton Road to facilities across the south coast. See more in the article on page 2.