We’re fortunate our area is a popular area for visitors and those involved in sailing, walking and water sports, and I want to keep it that way. That’s why I’ve been keeping up the pressure on Southern Water to reduce stormwater discharges into Langstone and Chichester Harbours.
Stormwater releases are designed to prevent homes and properties from flooding during periods of heavy rainfall when the capacity of the system can be exceeded. However, a combination of climate change bringing significantly more periods of intense rainfall, alongside more surface water entering into combined sewer systems, has meant increasing use of these overflows, especially during the winter months.
I’ve been campaigning on this issue for several years, and there’s positive news to report. The Government’s Storm Overflows Taskforce – made up of Defra, the Environment Agency, Ofwat, Consumer Council for Water, Blueprint for Water and Water UK – has set a long-term goal of eliminating discharges from storm overflows.
Following this, the Government has now announced that measures to reduce sewage discharges from storm overflows will be put into law. I’ve lobbied for these changes having supported the objectives of the similar Sewage (Inland Waters) Private Members Bill.
Recently, I met Southern Water CEO Ian McAulay to put pressure on the company to meet these new Government targets, which include a duty on water companies to publish data on storm overflow operation on an annual basis. While the infrastructure cost to eliminate stormwater discharges would be high, we spoke about practical solutions that could make a difference such as making homes more wastewater efficient.
Southern Water also confirmed it will publish a plan setting out how it will meet the Government’s long-term target.
But the goal of eliminating stormwater discharges is one that will require wider collaboration which is why I will be expanding my work on this issue by launching a new regional forum. This will bring together key invited stakeholders from across our region to work with Southern Water to improve local water quality.
This new forum will build on the work already achieved by my Hayling Island Environment Forum over the last two years, such as getting Southern Water to improve its Beachbuoy notification system.
Don’t forget, if you know somebody that has helped with the vaccination effort you can nominate them for one of my Coronavirus Community Hero Awards. Recently we had the fantastic news that over 40,000 adults in the Havant Constituency have now received the first dose of the Coronavirus vaccine, around 1 in 2 people.
So if you know anyone that has been volunteering at a vaccination centre or has been helping with any other aspect of the Coronavirus response visit www.alanmak.org.uk/HeroAwards to nominate now.
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