Have your say on the future of our beaches
Residents in Adur and Worthing are being given the chance to question Southern Water about bathing water quality results, as well as the company’s plans for future services.
Joint chairs of Adur & Worthing Councils' Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee (JOSC) want to hear from the public ahead of a meeting next Thursday (January 27) where representatives from Southern Water will be present to take submitted questions from residents, via the Chairman, during 30 minutes of public question time.
JOSC is the committee of councillors established to question and scrutinise decisions made by the Councils' Leaders, or Executive Members, of the Councils. It has no jurisdiction over planning or licensing decisions but regularly invites other public bodies, including the Environment Agency.
Southern Water has accepted an invitation to deliver a presentation about how it provides services and its plans for improved infrastructure, while meeting the needs of residents, especially in new developments where demand is set to increase.
Joint JOSC chair and representative for Adur District Council, Cllr Joss Loader, said: “The Council would love to hear from residents who have very understandable concerns about bathing water quality and what’s being done to help prevent the discharge of sewage into the River Adur and sea, after periods of heavy rain.
“We want to work with Southern Water to ensure everyone can enjoy our beautiful coastline and are able to swim in clean seas. That work has been on-going and will continue in earnest, but we would like to hear from anyone who has any concerns and questions.”
Fellow joint JOSC chair and representative for Worthing Borough Council, Charles James, added: “We are very lucky to live on the coast and have access to the sea and the Councils are therefore totally committed to ensuring the very highest standard of water quality. So, if you have any questions, or recommendations then please submit them via email (address below).”
Southern Water was fined a record £90m last July after the company admitted 6,971 illegal spills from 17 sites in Hampshire, Kent and West Sussex between 2010 and 2015.
A report from the company suggested that the target to achieve ‘excellent’ bathing water quality standard would be 2021/22 based on data over a four-year period with the results due to be released ahead of the meeting.
The Councils have also been working with various partners such as the Public Health & Regulation (PH&R), Coastal Office and Building Control Teams in conjunction with Southern Water and the Environment Agency in a bid to improve the quality of bathing water to obtain and then maintain ‘Blue Flag’ status along its coast.
As a result of those meetings, there has been training for Council Officers to help identify any faults in new developments, as well as additional signage along Worthing promenade to highlight the dog exclusion zone that operates between May and September.
The Councils also worked with Southern Water and other authorities on the Beauty of the Beach campaign. This aims to educate the public about what they can do to improve bathing water quality, while also providing relevant statistics on water quality.
All questions must be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org and must be in by Tuesday, January 25 at midday.