Bognor Regis and Littlehampton MP speaks out about Southern Water releases

Nick Gibb, MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, has spoken out about Southern Water releases along the South Coast this week.

Thursday, 7th October 2021, 11:55 am
Updated Thursday, 7th October 2021, 12:06 pm

The MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton has released a statement about illegal discharges along the South Coast this week, criticising the company for 'illegal discharges' in his constituency.

"It is important that local residents and visitors can enjoy our tranquil coastline and and be able to swim and surf in water that is uncontaminated by illegal discharges," he said.

"I have raised the concerns that local residents have regarding Southern Water' s conduct on a number of occasions with the minister for the environment, Rebecca Pow MP. I have also written to the chief executive of Southern Water to ask what steps he will be taking to ensure the illegal discharge of untreated sewage does not occur in and around the West Sussex coast."

Bognor Regis MP Nick Gibb

The statement comes months after 'black sludge' washing up on Bognor beaches prompted residents to express their concerns about the safety of the bating water in July, and several weeks after an alleged fault with the pumps at the Ford treatment works led to waste water releases in West Bognor Regis.

A spokesperson for the water company apologised for the pump failure, saying: "Unfortunately, faults do develop from time to time and we're sorry that, on this occasion, this led to an emergency release."

It also follows the success of an online petition to 'ensure water companies treat the sewage they are responsible for, not discharge it back into rivers and water courses." The petition, which was submitted to the parliamentary website, earned more than 66,000 signatures, earning a response from the government, which reads: "We recognise that there is more to do with regards to the management of sewage pollution. Rebecca Pow, MP, has met water company CEOs and made clear that the volume of of sewage discharged into rivers and other waterways in extreme weather must be reduced.

"To achieve this, Defra has established the Storm Overflows Taskforce, bringing together representatives from Government, the water industry, regulators and environmental non-governmental organisations to set out clear proposals to accelerate progress in tackling this issue."

The petition, the deadline for which is October 12, is still active and can be accessed online. Both Rebecca Pow, MP, and Southern Water have been approached for comment.