Council meets with Southern Water to demand action

Friday, 2 August, 2019

Havant Borough Council met with Southern Water to demand action to ensure seawater is safer - and the council now plans to form a partnership with other concerned authorities to lobby for further water quality testing and monitoring.  

The meeting comes just days after council Leader Michael Wilson wrote to the water company after he became increasingly concerned and frustrated about the effects of untreated releases following heavy rainfall. 

He met with Sam Underwood, the stakeholder engagement manager from Southern Water, and expressed his deepest concerns about untreated releases as well as the lack of investment the company is making in its infrastructure. 

Southern Water showed a willingness to work with Havant Borough Council at the meeting yesterday (Thursday 1 Aug) and neighbouring authorities to try to further monitor water quality in the area. 

Cllr Michael Wilson, Leader of Havant Borough Council, said: "I was told at this meeting that there have been 146 releases so far this year which is more than 20 a month. Whilst I understand the need to prevent flooding, I am surprised at the number of releases in that time period. 

"Water quality is not currently monitored in Langstone Harbour and I would like to see our residents provided with accurate and timely information so that they may make informed decisions regarding bathing and watersports activities .

"The meeting was the first step to ensure that Hayling's beaches are the best they can possibly be for our residents and visitors. 

"I will arrange a meeting as soon as I can with Portsmouth City Council, the Environment Agency and Southern Water to outline how we can step up robust water quality testing and monitoring. 

"I have told Southern Water that Havant Borough Council is prepared to take samples and I want us to work together to ensure the samples are tested and analysed to provide detailed information about the quality of the water on our beaches and harbours. 

"And if the quality is unacceptable, then this could support a case for the borough to become part of Southern Water's 'bathing water enhancement programme' which would see greater investment in our area."