Southern Water vows to reduce sewage overflows in Langstone Harbour
A WATER company has pledged to significantly slash the number of wastewater discharges in the Solent.
Over the next 10 years, Southern Water has vowed to reduce the number of combined sewage overflows (CSOs) by 80 per cent.
It comes after environmental campaigners called for real change and harsher penalties in the Environment Bill, which is going through the report stage in the House of Lords this week.
Dr Toby Willison, environment and corporate affairs director at Southern Water, said: 'We are pleased the bill will require all water companies to maintain the same standards of openness and transparency we already have in place.
'We lead the industry in making near real-time information about CSO releases available to our customers at all 83 bathing waters and two recreational harbours in the region, through our online Beachbuoy service.
'We have recently modelled how we could reduce our reliance on CSOs by up to 80 per cent in the next 10 years, because we want to lead the way towards creating healthier rivers and seas in the south east making them more accessible for people to enjoy and bringing social and economic benefit to our region.
'This builds on our existing commitment to reduce pollution incidents to less than 80 by 2025, compared to 430 in 2019.'
Dr Willison added that sustainable drainage and water efficiency in homes is also important for the future of the sewage network.
Southern Water is also investing a further £4bn until 2025, in a bid to improve the capacity and efficiency of its network.
It was taken over by Macquarie Asset Management last month, at which point a promise was made to reduce pollution incidents by more than 50 per cent – compared to 2019 – over the next four years.
Over the past few years there have been persistent concerns about discharges in the Solent, specifically into Langstone Harbour.
Hampshire County Council has held discussions with Southern Water about how best to proceed.
Councillor Jan Warwick, executive member for climate change and sustainability, said: 'We very much welcome the Environment Bill’s focus on tackling climate change and protection of the natural environment and while it will set the framework for what government wants delivered nationally, we await the detail that will follow in secondary legislation.
'The county council is already working with Southern Water and has discussed the issue of reducing storm water discharges.
'An example of the joint working already under way between us, as well as other agencies, is the ongoing work to develop a sustainable long-term plan for Chichester and Langstone Harbours – with the aim of protecting the environment to the impacts of storm water discharges and other pressures, supporting the local economy and the local community.'