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Sewage discharged into Sidmouth seas – again

  • by JW

The issue has become a key element in the upcoming general election campaign.


Today’s i-news carries a piece extolling the charms of Sidmouth – only to report that this Devon beauty spot has suffered sewage outflow for over 12 hours over the weekend:

A Devon beauty spot where Queen Victoria spent time as a child has as seen raw sewage discharged for more than 12 hours. The seaside town of Sidmouth on the Jurassic Coast has seen raw sewage discharged from 7.38pm on Saturday 9 March, according to Surfers Against Sewage.

Now the town has been blighted by a sewage flow, which South West Water said was due to “heavy, localised rainfall” in the area in recent days. Water companies are permitted to use “storm overflows” to discharge waste during periods of intense rainfall to prevent their infrastructure from becoming overwhelmed and sewage backing up into people’s homes. The company said reducing the use of storm overflows is a “priority” and has invested in areas including Sidmouth.

Devon Live in its report also refers to Sidmouth in similar ways, – and the raw sewage at the Devon beauty spot:

There has been a rise in the number of times raw sewage has been leaked into the seas and waterways in recent times. The heavy rain and storms has put more pressure on water companies and their sewage systems, and there is serious concern over how often raw sewage is allowed into public waterways.

At the time of reporting, SAS has a pollution alert warning for Sidmouth. They say that in the last 48 hours sewage has been “discharged from a sewer overflow”. Just eight of the 39 locations on Devon’s South coast that are regularly monitored by SAS are deemed ‘safe’ to swim at.

The SAS sewage pollution alerts map shows what’s happening – and the Surfers Against Sewage reports any issues on their app:

There has been a sewage discharge at Sidmouth Town which started at 19:38 on March 9, 2024. South West Water is responsible for this discharge.

All this comes on the same day that the government announces that water companies are to invest more than £180m to tackle sewage spills – including South West Water.

Meanwhile, the issue has become a key element in the upcoming general election campaign.

Sidmouth MP Simon Jupp earlier this month slammed South West Water and condemned accusations he voted ‘to pollute our waters and seas’ and last week he secured a debate in Parliament on the performance of South West Water.

Meanwhile, Honiton MP Richard Foord has declared that the ‘Government must take action to stop sewage discharges’ and last week he hosted a reception in Parliament, bringing together key sewage campaigning organisations to push the Government to do more to tackle sewage pollution.