We are unable to assist with this flooding

I AM writing in response to the letter from P Nixon of Tangmere (Observer, August 11).

The letter expressed concerns about flooding on the A27 at Tangmere and asked: “Southern Water are happy to include in our water rates a charge for removing surface water. What are they doing with our money?”

Southern Water bills contain a ‘surface water drainage’ charge of £22 per year and a ‘highway drainage’ charge of £9 per year.

Surface water is rainwater which runs off roofs and paved areas and also includes water that drains to the public sewer from activities such as car washing. The ‘surface water drainage’ charge covers the cost of taking away and treating this water.

If you are not connected to a public sewer you will not have to pay the ‘surface water drainage’ charge (more details are available on the back of Southern Water bills or at www.southernwater.co.uk)

The ‘highway drainage’ charge is the cost of accepting highways water (rainwater) into the public sewers and transporting it for treatment before it is recycled safely back into the environment. The highway drains and gutters in roads are the property and responsibility of the highway authority.

In urban areas these drains and gutters frequently discharge into Southern Water’s surface water or combined sewers and the highway drainage charge is a contribution to the maintenance of those sewers.

However, in rural areas highway drains normally discharge to local watercourses and we have no involvement at all in road drainage.

With regards to the A27 at Tangmere and the Chichester Bypass, this road does not drain to our sewers and we are unable to assist with this flooding issue.

I would recommend, therefore, that your correspondent speaks to the Highways Agency which is responsible for the A27.

Neil Hawkes,

Customer Relations, Southern Water