Response to Surfers Against Sewage National Day of Protests

Dr Toby Willison, Chief Environment & Sustainability Officer said:

“We stand with Surfers Against Sewage and we are already delivering the improvements they – and our customers - want. Our people are swimmers, paddleboarders and kayakers too and volunteer alongside people protesting today to clean beaches. 

Protecting the environment is a key priority for us. We must slow the flow of excess rainwater into our sewers if we are to reduce storm releases by 80% by 2030.  Our innovative storm water taskforce is already working on five pathfinder projects across Hampshire, Kent and the Isle of Wight focussing on natural solutions such as water gardens and swales. The taskforce has built awareness of the challenges and the need to work in partnership with our customers, councils, developers, NGOs and regulators to drive a significant change.  

 As part of our commitment to transparency, our Beachbuoy app shows in near real-time, 365 days a year, any release with the potential to affect bathing water. We are planning to extend this service by adding water quality data in the future. In addition, next month we will be launching the UK’s first interactive buoy off Hayling Island to monitor water quality in real time  

Supporting and educating people about the damage that fat, oil and grease, sanitary products, nappies and wet wipes do when disposed of down sinks, toilets and drains is important. Only the three Ps (pee, poo and paper) should be flushed down the toilet to avoid blockages.   

Only 30 years ago our less than half our beaches met the basic ‘acceptable’ standard. Now 80 out of 83 of our beaches are rated either good or excellent. None are ‘poor’.