Caroline Ansell MP: Congratulations to all for a very successful Airbourne
Congrats to all!
As well as a lot of fun, this event is vital to jobs and livelihoods in Eastbourne and I urge the council to commit to Airbourne 2023 and beyond and end this present uncertainty. At a time we’re concerned about the cost of living, the council pulling out of one of our main events would be nothing short of self-harm for the town!
And I’m afraid comments by those making merry in the media with the storm overflow discharges into the sea could prove equally damaging.
Our beaches were not closed (unlike the council-managed Bandstand, Redoubt and Fort Fun sadly) and yet people were telling me they wouldn’t be going into the water anymore. In the latest assessment, our bathing waters were found to be ‘Good’ by the Environment Agency. The risk to our tourism is evident.
I care passionately about marine life and ocean health. Working with local with partners, I was part of a successful campaign to secure Marine Conservation Zone status for Beachy Head East.
This current practice of using storm overflows is how things have been managed since the Victorians.
For those calling for this practice to stop with immediate effect, we risk untreated sewage being fed back into gardens, streets and homes instead. I worked very closely with residents in part of the town back in 2015-2017 who suffered exactly this because builders hadn’t properly connected them to the system. As you would imagine, it caused extreme stress and upset. We resolved that I am pleased to say.
What I can also share is that there has been important work going on at national level and will write on that in September when two key reports come before Parliament. Water companies will report on their 25-year planning horizon and a government report will set out the actions and costs involved in separating out rain and waste water systems, the ultimate solution to discharges. Studies on this range from £150 billion to as much as £600 billion – war level spend.
Back to School is creeping in but the summer is not yet over! There’s still lots to enjoy like the Vintage Fair in Gildredge Park this weekend.
Today, my thoughts are with our students getting GCSE and vocational results. I wish each and every one the very best for their next step.