Response to Ramsgate protest

Anyone attending this event can be reassured that we are listening to what you have to say.

We are pleased that people are passionate about the environment and getting more involved with causes such as water quality – we urge them to continue to speak up and campaign to help make a difference and effect change.

People across our region are making it clear the use of storm releases is no longer acceptable, which is why we are already acting now to cut pollution incidents by 80 per cent over the next four years and we believe we can achieve a similar reduction in storm releases by 2030. 

Working with our regulators and partners, we are ready to design and deliver the necessary innovative solutions to achieve this by 2030. We want to reduce our use of storm releases because it is the right thing to do for our customers and the environment.

The most efficient, cost effective and environmentally beneficial way of reducing storm releases and the carbon footprint they create is to separate surface water drainage from the sewer system. Reducing the amount of rainwater run-off from roads by around 40 per cent would mean an 80 per cent reduction in storm water releases. It will also continue to protect homes, businesses and other properties from flooding, which is vital role storm releases currently provide.

We have welcomed the Government’s amendment to the Environment Bill, currently going through Parliament, to include a duty on water companies to deliver a reduction in discharges from storm overflows. This development is in line with our commitment to dramatically reduce pollution incidents and the use of storm overflows.

It is important to remember that all 83 of our bathing waters meet strict European standards, a challenge which 20 years ago seemed impossible, but we have delivered. Our bathing waters are now the cleanest since Environment Agency (EA) testing records began.

We are spending £2 billion on our infrastructure and the environment, to serve our customers, the environment and boost local economies around our 700 miles of coastline.

We know these demonstrations are in response to people’s increased awareness of the storm releases that happen in their area. This awareness is in part because of our industry-leading Beachbuoy Portal; another visible and public example of our commitment to tackle this problem. Beachbuoy provides near real-time information on releases of storm water and is part of our drive to be as transparent as possible.

Storm releases during intense periods of rainfall are not raw sewage but usually more than 95 per cent rainwater. They happen to protect customers’ homes, schools, hospitals and businesses from flooding. They are tightly regulated by the EA.

We invite those involved with the protest to meet with us to hear about our work, our investment and our commitment to improve service to our customers and discuss ways to work together to achieve a goal we share, to protect the environment.