Huw Merriman called on the government and water industry bodies to prioritise mproving water quality during a question on sewage pollution in the House of Commons yesterday (September 6).
Huw Merriman urged the government and water industry bodies to urgently improve water quality during a question on sewage pollution in the House of Commons on Tuesday (September 6).
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Merriman asked the secretary of state for the environment, food and rural affairs, if the government would give bathing water beaches with poor water quality higher priority in the new investment programme which is designed to reduce discharges of storm overflows.Mr Merriman said “Today, Bexhill’s beach is red-flagged; yesterday, similarly red-flagged, meaning that people should not enter the sea. It is also the only beach in the area that is not rated ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ for its bathing quality.”
In reply, the environment secretary gave the MP absolute assurance that the government’s Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction plan, published on August 26, 2022, would prioritise bathing waters in the near term investments.Mr Merriman added: “It is essential for the public health of residents and visitors and for our local businesses that Bexhill beach is quickly brought up to good or excellent bathing water standards.
“I was pleased to hear the Secretary of State’s assurances that poor bathing waters will be prioritised for investment in the government’s new Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan. This must, therefore, mean prioritisation for Bexhill.
“I have been pressing for action for months to end the sewage pollution of our seas and rivers. To keep this high on the government’s agenda and to help understand the issue in more detail, I have also secured a debate in Parliament on sewage discharges in Parliament next Wednesday afternoon.
“The issue is complex. Responsibility lies beyond Southern Water. I want to ensure that each body with a role to play makes a commitments to deliver a solution which improves the quality of our bathing water.”
Southern Water confirmed that sewage was released on September 5 for 50 minutes into the sea at Bexhill and St Leonards.
Both are frequently used as outfalls for sewage to stop overflow after heavy rainfall.