Southern Water: Protest outside plant in Havant over sewage discharges and lack of public meeting

SOUTHERN Water has seen dozens of angry residents gather outside the Budds Farm Water Treatment works to say: enough is enough when it comes to dirty discharges being dumped into our bathing waters.
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The protest, co-ordinated by Unite the Union, comes amid increasing scrutiny of the water companies practices, with Havant Borough Council labeling the firm as ‘criminal’ over its management of wastewater.

Now residents from across the area have turned up at the firms Havant-based treatment works to highlight the firm’s continued dumping of sewage into the Solent.

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Attendees at the protest have called for more investment, greater transparency, and more engagement with the community.

A protest against Southern Water took place on Thursday, November 24, outside the firm's Budds Farm Water Treatment plant in Southmoor Lane, Havant.

Picture: Sarah Standing (241122-6926)A protest against Southern Water took place on Thursday, November 24, outside the firm's Budds Farm Water Treatment plant in Southmoor Lane, Havant.

Picture: Sarah Standing (241122-6926)
A protest against Southern Water took place on Thursday, November 24, outside the firm's Budds Farm Water Treatment plant in Southmoor Lane, Havant. Picture: Sarah Standing (241122-6926)

Sienna Somers, policy and advocacy manger at the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (HIWWT), said: ‘For us, it’s the fact that Southern Water are not doing enough.

‘The problem needs massive scale of investment – there’s not getting away from it.’

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The trust continues to work with firm on ‘small scale’ nature projects, but its overall impact has been negative, according to the trust representatives.

Pictured is: (l-r) Andy Ames, Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, Jeanette (74) from Southsea, and Debbie Garrod from Langstone.

Picture: Sarah Standing (241122-6993)Pictured is: (l-r) Andy Ames, Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, Jeanette (74) from Southsea, and Debbie Garrod from Langstone.

Picture: Sarah Standing (241122-6993)
Pictured is: (l-r) Andy Ames, Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, Jeanette (74) from Southsea, and Debbie Garrod from Langstone. Picture: Sarah Standing (241122-6993)
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Now the issue was driving ‘unprecedented’ levels of interest environmental groups, according to David Allwright, a policy officer at HIWWT.

He said: ‘A lot of young people are coming to us. Young people are very animated by this.’

‘Its one of the issue we see time and time again raised by local people – and not just by hardcore campaigners, more and more of them are local residents.’

But the firm appears to be reluctant to discuss the issue with these engaged residents, according to Alan Burgess, a Unite co-ordinator, who said attempts at a public meeting had been stonewalled.

Protesters outside the Southern Water plant demanded the firm meet with residents, investment more in infrastructure, and become more transparent about the problem of sewage discharges into the Solent. 

Picture: Sarah Standing (241122-3034)Protesters outside the Southern Water plant demanded the firm meet with residents, investment more in infrastructure, and become more transparent about the problem of sewage discharges into the Solent. 

Picture: Sarah Standing (241122-3034)
Protesters outside the Southern Water plant demanded the firm meet with residents, investment more in infrastructure, and become more transparent about the problem of sewage discharges into the Solent. Picture: Sarah Standing (241122-3034)
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The Portsmouth and district Unite Community officer said: ‘The first step is engagement. I have had a long conversation with someone from Southern Water, but they weren’t interested in having a public meeting in Portsmouth.’

The group is continuing to talk with Southern Water about the possibility of a public meeting in the new year.

Andrew Little, a resident of Warren Park for more than 60 years, has seen first-hand over decades how pollution and sewage dumping has eroded the natural landscape.

Having fished off the coast of the Solent since he was a boy, Andrew said he has now abandoned his pastime due to the destruction of wildlife.

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He said: ‘The waters used to be frothing with fish – you used to be able to catch about 2lb of bass easy. Now I’ve stopped fishing there. You can see the effluent in the water – it goes this dirty brown.’