Response to Brighton Protest

With a near £2 billion spend on wastewater infrastructure and environmental protection and enhancement, we believe our work is prioritising the needs of customers, protecting the environment and boosting local economies around our 700 miles of coastline.

Storm releases during intense periods of rainfall are made through long sea outfalls 2km out to sea.  These releases often more than 95% rainwater are made for one reason to protect customers’ homes, schools and businesses from flooding. This activity is tightly regulated by the Environment Agency.

We are working towards reducing our reliance on storm releases but there are huge challenges not least from climate change which we know is going to increase the frequency of intense rainfall events.

We are pioneering a new approach – building more storm tank capacity where it will have an impact – but prioritising partnership working to prevent rain from reaching our systems through sustainable drainage, water gardens and major natural capital solutions such as enhanced and expanded wetlands.

We engage closely with users groups such as Surfers Against Sewage which regularly attend meetings to discuss the Beachbuoy app and current and future work by us.


There are 83 designated bathing waters in our region. 58 are rated excellent and none below sufficient.

We have 367 wastewater treatment works, more than 3000 pumping stations and almost 40,000km of sewer network to serve our 4.6 million customers.

Brighton & Hove is served by Peacehaven one of the largest and most modern wastewater treatment works in Europe. It treats more than 50 million litres of wastewater a day in dry weather – part of the 748 million litres we process every day for our 4.6 million customers.  During rain, more than 100 million litres a day is typically treated.

Peacehaven can treat 2525 litres of wastewater every second.

Hidden beneath the chalk cliffs between Peacehaven and Brighton lie gigantic 150 million litre storm tunnels that can hold a full day’s long term average rain fall which helps to reduce storm overflows in the area but population growth and the effects of climate change mean they cannot always be avoided.