Wealden council continues to put pressure on Southern Water

Local authorities across the south coast, including Wealden District Council, are continuing to put pressure on Southern Water in light of pollution and flooding concerns.
Wealden District CouncilWealden District Council
Wealden District Council

The Southern Water Stakeholder Group, initiated and co-ordinated by Wealden District Council and including representatives from more than 24 local authorities from Chichester to Folkestone, is set to write to the Secretary of State for the Environment calling on more resources to be made available for the Environment Agency to hold the water company to account.

At its recent meeting this week, the group was joined by representatives from the Environment Agency.

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The Environment Agency’s area director for Solent and South Downs Simon Moody said the organisation is holding water companies – including Southern Water - to account to reduce pollution, tackle storm overflows and invest more of their profits into the environment.

A Wealden District Council spokesperson said: “Southern Water - responsible for waste water across the region and for drinking water in other parts of the south east - performs poorly in a national rating scheme with two stars out of four and has previously had to apologise for a catalogue of issues including flooding, sewage seeping into people’s homes, gardens and roads, the ongoing problem of discharges into rivers and waterways and the inability to deal with additional development.”

Some of the steps the water company says it has taken to alleviate flooding so far includes reducing storm overflows and pollutions and improving communications to keep customers regularly informed during water outages and flooding incidents.

It has also fitted pressure sensors to manholes across its network, which trigger when full, according to Wealden District Council.

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A spokesperson from Southern Water said: “We know our performance in the past has not been good enough. Since 2021 our shareholders have injected more than £1.5 billion into the company allowing us to invest £3 billion between 2020 and 2025. Our turnaround plan is already showing positive signs of improvement.

“We work closely with our stakeholders and will keep this group informed.”

The next meeting of the Southern Water Stakeholder Group will be held early next year.