April 13th, 2023.

Lewes District Green Party release:

Lewes District Green Party has dismissed a new government ‘Plan for Water’ announced last week which is intended to clean up England’s water, as ‘too little, too late, and too lame.”

The Environment Agency has recently published data showing that water companies released untreated wastewater 824 times a day last year. Several local water treatment works showed a substantial deterioration, despite figures nationally having improved due to last year's very dry conditions. One Lewes sewage works had rocketed into the top three Southern Water offenders.

Green Party Lewes local election candidate Graham Clews said: “At Ham Lane sewage works in Lewes, more than five times as much raw sewage discharge was dumped into the Ouse last year than in 2021. Untreated wastewater was discharged for 2419 hours - or more than 25% of the time. Clearly Southern Water is not keeping untreated wastewater discharge for emergency 'storm' use only, as they should be, and it has become their new normal."

Emily O’Brien, (pictured), who is a Green Party National spokesperson as well as a local councillor said: “The government’s new ‘plan for water’ is too little too late and too lame, including a bunch of pre-existing announcements that are about as much use as a wet wipe in a swimming pool.

“In my ward, Southern Water's sewage works in Ringmer went from 895 hours of untreated discharge in 2021 to an eye-watering 968 hours last year. Straight into Glynde Reach, one of the most polluted rivers in Sussex.

“It’s no surprise that Ringmer has had lots of new development and one of the tricks that government has missed with this new water plan is to fail to link the impact of new development on the sewage system, despite their own environment committee telling them they should do so just last year.”

Green Party Councillors made Lewes District Council the first in England to challenge Southern Water over the impact of new development on raw sewage discharge in 2021.

Emily O’Brien also appeared on BBC News at 10 and Radio 5 Live, highlighting the problems both locally and nationally.
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