13 September, 2021

Update from Leader following Southern Water briefing

Cllr Ash Ashbee said:

“Following the lightning strike at Southern Water’s wastewater pumping station at Foreness Point on Wednesday 16 June 2021, I wrote to and met with the Chief Executive and Senior Directors to understand exactly what happened and what mitigation measures can be put in place to ensure the district is not exposed to that risk again.

“I understand the strength of feeling on this matter and am aware that many residents and businesses in Thanet are looking for the company to be held to account. This evening, the Chief Executive of Southern Water, Ian McAulay and the Director of Environment & Corporate Affairs Dr Toby Willison provided elected members with a further update following the incident and answered their questions.

“In addition to funds already offered to local businesses in compensation for loss of business, Southern Water has made a direct payment of £100,000 to Thanet District Council to meet costs incurred as a result of the incident and, as per my request, to benefit the residents of Thanet. It has also agreed to commission a full drainage survey of Margate and the surrounding areas in order to improve the long term resilience of Foreness Point. This survey will establish and record all of the water pathways that contribute surface water and rain water to the combined drainage system, as well assess the amount of water which is added to the system during storm periods. The aim is to reduce runoff reaching the treatment works and therefore substantially reduce the risk of emergency spills. Southern Water estimates this survey will cost in the region of £400,000.

“I will continue to seek assurances that Southern Water’s investment plan in Thanet is sufficient to ensure resilience in the area. I want the priorities of Thanet residents and businesses to be both heard and understood and in turn know that the company has a plan that addresses their concerns. Furthermore, by working closely with our MPs and using our collective powers and influence, I will continue to scrutinise Southern Water to ensure they deliver on their commitments.”

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