Stop The Sewage Southsea to target Southern Water as part of nationwide protests this weekend

STOP The Sewage Southsea is calling on residents to join a nationwide day of action against polluting water companies this weekend, as Southern Water begins to discuss solutions to the environmental crisis.

Friday, 22nd April 2022, 2:47 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd April 2022, 3:46 pm

This Saturday will see activists from the Southsea group travel to Worthing with other anti-pollution groups across the area to highlight Southern Waters’ record of dumping sewage into bathing waters across the south coast.

The protest is part of a national day of action against polluting water companies, with 12 rallies planned from Scotland to Cornwall.

Thousands of people are expected to attend the protest in West Sussex, according to Stop The Sewage coordinator Sarah Shreeve.

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Some of the hundreds who came to Stop The Sewage Southsea's first protest against Southern Water in October. Picture: Mike Cooter (161021)

The Southsea resident said: ‘The reason it’s not happening in Portsmouth is because Worthing is right in the middle of Southern Water’s catchment area and we wanted to maximise the number of people attending.

‘There are two key demands. The government has to legislate to make the dumping of untreated sewage into the water illegal. And our request of Southern Water is for them to grow a conscious – and drastically reduce and stop their stop overflow activity.’

The government currently has ‘unbelievably unambitious’ target to tackle only the worst offending sites by 2035, according to Sarah.

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Organiser Sarah Shreeve (34) addresses Stop the Sewage's first protest in October, when hundreds gathered at Southsea Beach to protest Southern Water's pollution record. Picture: Mike Cooter (161021)

But the group has reported positive meetings with the council and Southern Water, with a focus on ensuring stormwater tanks do not need to be emptied into surrounding waterways.

Possible solutions include using more porous tarmac on roads and replicating water diversion systems that have trialed on the Isle of Wight, according to Portsmouth City Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson.

The Liberal Democrat politician said: ‘We have met with the chief executive of Southern Water, and Southern Water are really interested in working with us and I think there’s real potential.

‘We are on the same page as Southern Water – but this isn’t going to be a quick fix.’

Earlier this year saw the city council agreed to act on a Stop The Sewage petition calling for shoreline billboards warning swimmers and visitors of recent sewage discharges.

The Worthing rally will take place along the seafront opposite Windsor Road at 1.00pm on Saturday, April 23.