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Solent Sewage: Calls grow to address ‘dirty water crisis’ as City MP brings community together to find way forward

Stephen Morgan MP has led calls to address the ‘dirty water crisis’ at a public meeting held in the constituency for people from across the region to have their say.

Hosted by the Portsmouth MP, panelists included Professor Alex Ford, Director of Research Degrees at the School of Biological Sciences for the University of Portsmouth; Bianca Carr, CEO of Final Straw Foundation and; Louise MacCallum, Environment Officer of Langstone Harbour Board.

During his presentation, Professor Ford underlined the importance of local data to build a greater understanding of the impact sewage pollution is having on local bathing waters. Professor Ford told the meeting Southern Water has repeatedly refused to share key research data for Langstone Harbour, despite the water company releasing similar data for Chichester Harbour.

Meeting attendees also raised concerns around the lack of scope and powers regulators have to target and fix sewage pollution, with heavy fines only forming part of the solution.

Young members of the audience also voiced their frustrations that their generation will have to grow up during a period where they are not able to experience local wildlife and habitats in their former glory, but will have to repair the damage caused by historic pollution problems.

Earlier this week Mr Morgan voted in Parliament to amend the Environment Bill for tougher measures to hold water companies to account over sewage discharge, including by placing a legal duty on firms. Regrettably local Tory MPs did not back the cross-party proposals.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said,

“It has been excellent to see so many different parts of our community coming together to share views and concerns and find a way forward to fix the dirty water crisis our city faces. My thanks to all those who attended and panelists for the expertise they shared.

“Government, local Tory MPs and industry continue to drag their feet and refuse to face up to the reality of what we are seeing. Urgent action has now got to be taken. It cannot be right that the next generation will have to pay the price because of the failures government and industry are making today.

“It’s clear from what we heard at my Solent Sewage summit that greater transparency from industry and more targeted, forceful intervention is needed to preserve our precious local environment.

“I will be taking our city’s concerns, and many others, back to Parliament.”