Gillian Keegan stands by record on sewage

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Gillian Keegan has reaffirmed her commitment to stopping sewage discharges in Chichester Harbour following years of campaigning, saying there is "a huge amount of misinformation" on water pollution locally.

In March of this year Mrs Keegan secured £56 million worth of upgrades for Chichester constituency from Southern Water. This includes £30 million a new treatment facility at Thornham alongside £16 million for Chichester, £8 million for Lavant and £1.4 million for Bosham.

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In Bosham this will be used to create an innovative wetland scheme, seal private pipes to reduce infiltration from groundwater, and reline and seal up to 9.9km of sewers around Funtington.

Gillian Keegan said ending sewage discharges had been a priority throughout her time in Parliament.Gillian Keegan said ending sewage discharges had been a priority throughout her time in Parliament.
Gillian Keegan said ending sewage discharges had been a priority throughout her time in Parliament.

Gillian is seeking re-election as the Conservative Party candidate at the up-coming General Election, having served as MP for Chichester since 2017.

Speaking to local media, she said: “None of this progress has happened by accident. This investment has been the result of years of consistent campaigning by myself and others, as well as pressure from central government on Southern Water to take meaningful steps to stop their unacceptable pollution of our environment.

“Of course our work is not done, and if re-elected I will continue to fight for further meaningful improvements to protect our constituency’s waterways.”

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Addressing recent personal attacks by opposition parties, the Conservative candidate responded: “There’s a huge amount of misinformation on the issue of sewage. I have not engaged with these political games, instead choosing to focus on meaningful local action.

“Some people have claimed that I voted to allow sewage discharges. This is false. I have always voted to increase restrictions and monitoring of sewage discharges and have only ever voted against uncosted amendments that fail to address the issues, and risk misuse of taxpayer’s money.

“Countless hours have been wasted in the House of Commons debating and voting on these amendments that would only make the issue worse.”

Recent government legislation, including the new Environment Act, has led to the creation of unlimited fines for water companies who pollute England's waters. Chichester’s local provider, Southern Water, has so far been fined a record £90 million and has been the subject of a major criminal investigation by the Environment Agency.

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The Conservatives have also passed laws that have led to increased public awareness of the scale of water pollution. All storm overflows in England are now monitored following huge government investment, with data made available to the public online through services such as Beachbuoy. This compares to monitoring levels of just 7 per cent before 2010.

Gillian added: “Ending sewage discharges and improving water quality has been a priority since I was first elected in 2017.

“We have a clear plan to protect the future of our waterways and harbour by pushing to reduce standing water and flooding, increasing nature-based drainage schemes, and fighting for improvements to our local pumping stations and infrastructure.”