Southern Water Ofwat Ruling

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Coastal members and, in particular, those in the Southern Water area from Kent to the Isle of Wight may want to see the note I circulated to colleges in the UK Beach Management Forum regarding the Ofwat inquiry into Southern Water’s waste treatment malpractices from 2007 onward and the £120m plus fine and redress package announced earlier in the week.  Legal proceedings against Southern Water are still being considered by both the Environment Agency (EA) and the Serious Fraud Office, for what is a really shocking , deliberate deceit, apparently perpetrated  for 10 years or more: https://ukbeachmanagementforum.wordpress.com/2019/06/27/southern-water-ofwat-findings/

Ofwat have taken action on behalf of customers who will each receive rebates.  The report sets out that the fine element is c £3m and would have been much more but for Southern Water’s cooperation in its investigation.  According to the report, the fine and rebate combined recognises the very serious nature of the offences which they say, also includes causing serious damage to the reputation of all UK water companies. There are references to damaging the environment but none I can find to the damage to bathing waters or to damage to the reputation of associated coastal destinations.

I am now asking questions of Defra and, through them, of the EA about what the impact may have been on bathing water quality results in the Southern Water area since 2007 and, by inference, what damage may have been done to those local businesses whose performance can be negatively influenced by anything less than excellent water quality?

As the falsification of discharge reporting will have impacted on the levels of appropriate investment agreed and undertaken since 2007, it isn’t unreasonable to presume that current bathing water standards and those going forward until such times as the required investment can be made, will have been adversely impacted in or across the Southern Water area.  I look forward to getting Defra and the EA’s response and, depending on what they say, to potentially helping colleagues take the case for accelerated water treatment investment and possibly other local redress forward.

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