Labour Councillors are “very disappointed” to learn that once again, the CEO of Southern Water appears to be ducking scrutiny over dumping sewage into our seas and by refusing to attend January’s meeting of the council’s Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee (HOSC).
As Chair of HOSC, Labour’s Cllr Clare Moonan invited the CEO of Southern Water, Lawrence Gosden, to attend the committee meeting back in July to talk about the discharge of untreated sewage into waterways and seas. He chose not to attend, sending the head of Southern Water’s ‘Storm Overflow Task Force’ in his stead.
Labour’s Cllr Moonan persisted and once again invited the Southern Water CEO to attend the upcoming HOSC meeting in January 2023, but has been informed that yet again, the Chief Executive will not attend, and will be sending a Southern Water ‘representative’ instead.
Labour Councillor Clare Moonan, Chair of HOSC, said:
“We asked the Chief Executive of Southern Water to attend the July HOSC meeting to talk about the discharge of untreated sewage into waterways and the sea. The CEO was unable to attend… but myself and other members were nonetheless keen to hear from the new CEO at a future meeting.
“I had ongoing concerns about water quality, which have in fact been borne out despite assurances given in July. I have also had a number of concerned queries from members of the public on this issue. I therefore invited the Chief Executive of Southern Water, Lawrence Gosden, to attend the January HOSC.
“I am very disappointed to report that Southern Water’s response is that a representative of the company will attend, but that it will not be the CEO.
“On behalf of concerned residents of Brighton and Hove, I will be expressing my serious disappointment to Mr Gosden and again invite him to attend in person and explain the ongoing releases of sewage into our local sea water and the impact this is having on the health of our residents.”
The Labour Group on Brighton & Hove City Council have consistently called out Southern Water for dumping sewage into our local sea waters.
Last year, Labour’s co-leader of the opposition, Cllr John Allcock caught headlines by describing ‘Southern Water’ as a ‘byword for environmental pollution and foul play’, in his critical intervention regarding sewage dumping by private water companies.
Back in August, Labour’s chair of the council’s health overview and scrutiny committee, Cllr Clare Moonan called for an independent audit to assess the cleanliness of our seas, highlighting that ‘public confidence is low’ and pledging to ‘keep challenging’ on this issue.