Southern Water: Geldof Supports Non-Payment Campaign for Wastewater Discharge | The water

Water company fined record £ 90million for dumping raw sewage faces a taxpayer revolt over its continued discharge into the sea. A non-payment campaign against Southern Water, initiated by four residents of Whitstable in Kent, is expected to gain momentum.

This week’s protesters received support from Bob Geldof, who lives in the nearby town of Faversham. According to the Kent Online website, Geldof told a city audience: “Don’t pay your water bills at Southern Water – they can screw up the hell. God bless the people of Whitstable. I am directly there to join them. In fact, I will join them immediately.

Among those who refuse to pay their bills is a local Conservative adviser, Ashley Clark. In a letter to the water company he wrote: ‘I have no intention of contributing to the £ 90million fine recently imposed on this company for criminal activity.

“Throughout the summer, Southern Water continued to send my untreated wastewater, along with that of other local people, directly into the sea, which I use daily for swimming from April to October.

“I find the idea of ​​swimming in a mixture of local sewers and seawater totally disgusting and not something I should be charged for. If I paid someone to empty my garage and take the garbage to the landfill, but instead they threw it out in the countryside, I would be upset. Canterbury City Council is prosecuting offenders for this type of activity.

“Yet Southern Water continues to dump sewage into my bathing waters with impunity. “

Southern was fined £ 90million in July for dumping billions of liters of raw sewage into the sea around Whitstable and the Hampshire coast.

Judge Jeremy Johnson, sentencing the privatized water company in Canterbury Crown Court, said the offenses showed a shocking and general disregard for the environment.

He said the company had a history of criminal activity for its “past and persistent pollution of the environment,” with 168 previous infractions and warnings. But he said: “There is no evidence that the company was aware of the penalties imposed or the court’s remarks. His offense simply continued.

Kent’s beaches have been closed three times in the past three months due to discharges of raw sewage from Southern Water.

The company said the bills paid by customers were “absolutely crucial” in enabling it to make the investments necessary to deliver environmental benefits, better customer service and boost local economies.

She announced that she was setting up a task force to reduce wastewater discharges from storm overflows by 80% by 2030. “Southern Water customers have made it clear that use thunderstorm discharge is no longer acceptable, ”the company said.

Whitstable author Julie Wassmer is also among the non-payers. In a letter, she told the company that she was withholding the £ 168.08 wastewater treatment charge from her bill.

“It cannot be fair that criminal activity is rewarded; that families were forced to leave the beaches and the sea, that residents had to sweep sewage from a walkway so that local children did not have to walk in the feces on their way to school, and that Southern Water and its shareholders continue to derive huge profits from all of this… so I am exercising my consumer rights by withholding payment from Southern Water. “

Protests were held in Margate and Whitstable this fall calling for an end to the discharge of raw sewage into the sea.

Geldof, speaking to an audience at a climate change event in Faversham boardrooms, reportedly said: ‘I don’t understand why this giant utility company can’t be held accountable. I really don’t understand it.

The company publicly publishes information on sewage and sewage discharges from its storm overflows through the Beachbuoy service, which Southern says has played an important role in raising awareness of when and where where the releases took place.

A spokesperson said, “Southern Water is committed to making environmental improvements for our customers. We are spending £ 2 billion on improvements between 2020 and 2025 and we have pledged to reduce pollution incidents by 80% by 2025. “

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