Council demands immediate action to improve water quality

Wednesday, 24 July, 2019

Havant Borough Council is demanding immediate action from Southern Water to ensure Hayling Island’s beaches are safe for all to use.

Councillors are growing increasingly concerned about the impact of untreated raw sewage and its possible effect on health, the environment and wildlife as well as on tourism and leisure businesses.

Repeatedly, Southern Water has allowed these untreated releases, which includes toilet paper, wipes etc, to spew out into the harbour following heavy rainfall which may then be washed up onto Hayling’s beach.

Whilst the water quality is checked regularly by the Environment Agency, Havant Borough Council remains extremely concerned on the number of these releases by Southern Water and the amount of debris that is left on the shore.

Councillor Michael Wilson, Leader of Havant Borough Council, said: "Havant Borough Council has today called for immediate action to ensure that water quality at Hayling Island is improved - and that Southern Water invests in its infrastructure as a matter of urgency. 

"The council is writing to Southern Water to demand something is done as quickly as possible about the current situation. 

"We have already called on OFWAT to force Southern Water to invest in its infrastructure, after its record penalty for failures at its sewage treatment sites. 

"In the meantime we want Southern Water to provide us with useful data about water quality and any issues from its treatment plants so that we can, at the very least, warn water-users about any potential issues. 

"Our number one priority is always our residents and visitors and their safety is absolutely paramount."

Current advice from Southern Water is to think carefully before entering bathing and recreational waters during or after heavy rain.  Updates and information are available at

Anyone wishing to report pollution should contact the Environment Agency’s 24-hour incident line on 0800 80 70 60.  

To hear more from Councillor Wilson on this issue please watch this video.


Notes to Editors:

Hayling Island has held the prestigious Blue Flag award for 29 consecutive years. The criteria to achieve this has 31 elements which includes environmental education, information and management.  It also recognises safety and services. Water quality is a small element of the award.  For more information on the criteria visit Keep Britain Tidy.

Southern Water has appeared before Havant Borough Council’s scrutiny panel to ensure it is held to account for its actions.  Minutes of previous meetings held in November 2018 and February 2019 can be found here.

For high-resolution versions of photographs used with this release please visit our Flickr account.