Demonstration held on St Leonards seafront over sewage discharges in sea

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Protesters held a demonstration on the seafront at the weekend to protest against sewage discharges in the sea.

The event was held on Saturday (January 28), with demonstrators saying there had been 234 sewage outflows in the area in 2022.

Environment groups, such as Clean Water Action attended, as well as Extinction Rebellion Hastings and St Leonards, with Green Party councillor Julia Hilton and Helena Dollimore, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Hastings and Rye.

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Cllr Hilton said: "The flooding last week I'm afraid is part of a new normal, we need a proper climate adaption plan for Hastings.

Protesters at the demonstration on Saturday (January 28)Protesters at the demonstration on Saturday (January 28)
Protesters at the demonstration on Saturday (January 28)

“The Dirty Water national campaign emphasises the call out to Southern Water to clean up its act but to work on sustainable solutions here in Hastings and these discussions must take place soon.”

Cllr Amanda Jobson, vice-chair of the council’s overview and scrutiny committee, said: “Our priority now is to call for an investigation, prioritise an urgent report, to work together with Southern Water and agencies bringing forward a real climate action plan for Hastings.”

Last August, Bexhill and Normans Bay beaches were closed for two days after sewage was discharged into the sea, with Southern Water blaming a failure at its pumping station at Galley Hill for the incident.

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A Southern Water spokesperson said: “We are aware of demonstrations taking place this weekend, and understand the concerns of those involved.

“At Southern Water, we play our part in improving the standard of bathing waters, through major investments in treatment works along our 700 miles of coast – and we are working hard to extend our efforts and partnerships with other agencies to make an even bigger positive impact.

“Customers rightly expect the water industry to eliminate the use of storm overflows, and we are developing our own plans to tackle this issue, while continuing to protect people’s homes from flooding.

“And while we have an important role to play in enhancing and maintaining water quality, there are a wide range of pollutions which have an impact – contaminated rainwater running off roads and agricultural land, wastewater from privately owned treatment works, boats and animals on the beach such as dogs and seabirds, and the overall steep rise in bathing water users all play a part. That’s why it is so important for all parties to work together.”