Hayling Island group asks Havant Borough Council to support electronic pollution signs for Central Beachlands beach to keep water users safe

A CAMPAIGN group is calling on council members to support its idea for electronic pollution signs at a Hayling Island beach.

Monday, 14th June 2021, 10:41 am

Hayling Sewage Watch is asking Havant Borough Council to support its proposal for signs at the Central Beachlands Blue Flag beach at the council’s upcoming meeting.

Mike Owens, a member of Hayling Sewage Watch, said: ‘This is the opportunity for the council to provide inexpensive and effective real-time, traffic light-based, sewage pollution warnings by displaying Southern Water’s Beachbouy warnings to beach and water users making sure they are safe from polluted seas.’

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Beachlands at Hayling Island. Picture: Google Maps

Beachbuoy gives beach visitors real-time information about releases of stormwater or wastewater.

Hayling Sewage Watch is a not for profit campaign group working to encourage Southern Water, the Environment Agency and Havant Borough Council to protect water users in Hayling and Langstone and Chichester Harbours from polluted water.

The group warns that after moderate or heavy periods of rain thousands of tons of water containing raw, untreated sewage is released into Chichester and Langstone Harbours. Contact with water containing high levels of sewage can lead to skin rashes, disease and infections, while swallowing contaminated water can lead to gastrointestinal infection such as nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting.

Mike added: ‘It is wholly unacceptable for bathers on a Blue Flag beach, managed by Havant Borough Council, during the official bathing season, to be swimming in a soup of faecal pathogens without being warned.’

The council will discuss Hayling Sewage Watch’s petition, ‘Help stop Hayling Beaches being polluted with untreated sewage’, on June 16 at the full council meeting.

The call comes after a ‘summit’ was held last month between 16 organisations to discuss the concerns about poor water conditions.

The Save Our Harbours meeting saw groups and businesses including Southern Water take part and looked at both Langstone and Chichester harbours.

At the time Southern Water’s chief executive Ian McAulay said: ‘We need to understand what the biggest and quickest wins are and where we can achieve the greatest impact from our shared efforts and collective investment. We must take action now, commit to working in an open, honest and supportive way and demonstrating progress.

‘Southern Water recognises it must be part of the solution and is playing its part through a sustained programme of investment and activity.’

But Mr Owens and Hayling Sewage Watch dismissed the meeting as feeling like ‘just another talking shop’.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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