OVER 100 sea lovers, activists and families acted to challenge Southern Water over sewage discharges at a protest in Gurnard yesterday (Saturday, October 15).

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The protest aimed to raise awareness and to ask Southern Water to do ‘the maximum they can’ to help keep our seas clean.

It also challenged Bob Seely to do more, with the Island MP attending the event.

Organisers shared that they had support from Island company Rapanui, who are committed to helping communities with an ecological perspective.

Isle of Wight County Press: Sewage pollution protesters at Gurnard Bay.Sewage pollution protesters at Gurnard Bay. (Image: Tim Butt)

One protester told the County Press: “Bob Seely attended and repeated the solutions presented to locals at the Southern Water meeting in the summer. 

“All those solutions, except the water butts, will be paid for not by Southern Water but by the taxpayer, which is why the local people want action. We want investment by the perpetrators.

“For most of us locals, we are not interested in the political positioning on this. 

“We want solutions more urgently than are being delivered or presented. 

“In short, we don’t want to swim or do water sports in sh*t anymore.”

Isle of Wight County Press: Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely with sewage pollution protesters at Gurnard Bay (Photo: Bob Seely).Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely with sewage pollution protesters at Gurnard Bay (Photo: Bob Seely). (Image: From public)

Bob Seely said: “Thank you to Islanders out in Gurnard to protest against sewage discharges. They’re right to make their voices heard.

“Water firms HAVE spilled too much into rivers and beaches. They need to clean up their act.

“When the ground-breaking environment laws went through last year, we persuaded Southern Water to the Isle of Wight a test case for national best practice.

Mr Seely said this consists of:

  • Investment in Sandown treatment works.
  • Work to reduce driveway and roadway rainwater run-off.
  • Better planning to ensure more focus on water run-off in industrial areas.
  • Handing out slow-release water butts to households.

A ‘butt’ trial in Havenstreet has been very successful, says Mr Seely, after 132 households said yes after being offered the slow-release water butts.

He continued: “Before the trial, Havenstreet pumping station spilled 20-30 times a year. Since the trial, it hasn’t spilled once, so a good start.”

“I have written to Southern Water, and I spoke with their head environmental officer.

“They are finalising dates to start water butt offer for folks in Gurnard. It will happen next year.

“I’ll push for early-as-possible work at Gurnard and other popular Isle of Wight beaches. I know how key they are for year-round Island sea swimmers and our tourism.

“Water firms DO need to clean up their act. I will work with everyone to make sure they deliver on the Island.”