'Having a clean seaside's vital': Southend waters tested after sewage woes

·2-min read
Testing - Anna Firth MP with campaigners and agency staff <i>(Image: Anna Firth MP)</i>
Testing - Anna Firth MP with campaigners and agency staff (Image: Anna Firth MP)

A SOUTHEND MP met with a water firm boss and campaigners to test the water quality in the Thames Estuary shore due to concerns about sewage in the sea.

Anna Firth Tory MP for Southend West also met with the Environment Agency, OFWAT the Water Services Regulation Authority to discuss efforts to improve water quality, today.

It comes after Anglian Water announced £17million of investment to help stop sewage overflows in the sea and unblock drains.

Ms Firth MP said: “People flock to our sea-side city throughout the summer to swim, and a huge number of our local businesses rely on people coming to visit our beautiful beaches for their livelihoods.

"So many of the people who live in Southend enjoy swimming in the sea – even on Christmas Day – and of course we have a world-famous cockle industry. For everyone here, having clean sea water is absolutely vital.

"It was a very productive discussion, and I was very pleased to hear more about the work that all of these agencies are doing to ensure that the use of storm overflows is minimised, and to receive reassurances that there is a clear plan to reduce the use of these and their environmental harms further."

Earlier this month, Anglian Water has confirmed outfalls on Three Shells Beach, Jubilee Beach, Leigh Bell Wharf, Chalkwell Beach and Thorpe Bay pumped sewage into the sea on March 8.

On Thursday, Anglian Water announced it's installing 22,000 monitors in the sewers to find blockages quicker and the company is also planning to educate families about what to flush down the toilet and put down the sink.

Following today's meeting, a spokesman said: "The meeting demonstrated that everyone has a part to play to protect and improve our environment, but we remain steadfast in pushing forward with investment across the city.

"Some of it in partnership with Southend Council, to remove surface water from the combined sewer systems, improve and be more transparent on our data reporting on storm overflows, working with partners to help businesses and customers look after the sewer network by not using it as a bin as well as investing heavily on more sewer monitors."