Labour Party launches petition for Southern Water to be brought under public ownership

A PETITION has been launched to bring a universally panned water company back under control of the general public.

Friday, 10th December 2021, 11:00 am

The Hill Head and Stubbington branch of the Labour Party has started a petition for Southern Water to be put under public ownership.

Under the party's proposals, a new CEO and board of directors would be appointed, to ensure that all sewage is treated before being discharged, and all profits are reinvested back into the company.

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Southern Water's Budds Farm outfall pouring out untreated sewage on October 21. Picture: Chris Pearsall Commercial Photography

Branch secretary Lynne Murray said: 'Across the Solent, Southern Water has been a persistent problem for a number of years, and everyone we speak to has simply had enough.

'They're agitated and they want change - but it's hard to see anything happening under the current leadership.

'Instead of the current chief executives making the same mistakes time and again, Southern Water should be run by the community and the money should go back into the business, rather than to the pockets of directors and shareholders.'

So far, the Labour Party has set up stalls in Hill Head and Stubbington, and gone door-to-door in the surrounding area, collecting more than 300 signatures in the process.

In 2019 Southern Water was fined £126m by Ofwat for regulatory breaches, with an additional £90m criminal fine after pumping up to 21bn litres of untreated sewage into delicate ecosystems.

Mrs Murray said: 'The entire operation has to be more transparent - because at the moment we feel as though nobody is being held to account.

'We have people across the political spectrum supporting this; there are people who have voted Conservative their whole life who are backing this change, which to us really shows just how passionate people are about this issue.

'Gosport Labour Party will also be running the petition and the Portsmouth branch might be picking it up too.'

Earlier this year, Southern Water unveiled a £1.7bn investment plan for the south east region, in a bid to improve the capacity and efficiency of the waste water network and cut the number of stormwater releases.

So far, £18m has been pledged to improving Budds Farm in Langstone Harbour, which treats around 109m litres of wastewater every day.

Southern Water has been approached for comment.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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