Southern Water unveils £1.5bn investment in Clean Rivers and Seas Plan to cut spills by 8,000 a year by 2035

Southern Water has published its Clean Rivers and Seas Plan outlining proposals, underpinned by £1.5 billion investment between 2025-2035, to get to the root cause of storm overflows across the region.

The water company has stated out of almost 1,000 storm overflows in its region, half are hitting the government’s 2050 targets, releasing 10 times or less a year. This new plan will be the blueprint for how they plan to address the remaining overflows. By 2035, Southern Water wants 75% of their high priority overflows meeting government targets, reducing spills by an average of 8,000 a year, and by 2050 they have promised 100% will meet these targets.

The first phase of this plan will be delivered between 2025 and 2030 and will see an investment of £700 million to focus on areas such as shellfish and bathing waters, and environmentally sensitive sites. This means by 2030, spills will reduce by 3,000 a year.

CEO of Southern Water, Lawrence Gosden, said:      

“I’ve heard our customers’ concerns, and we take our impact on the environment seriously. We have a long-term strategy to 2050 that will restore and protect our regions’ rivers and coastal habitats and a large part of that will be to get to the root cause of storm overflows.

“We cannot simply switch storm overflows off. But by implementing this Clean Rivers and Seas Plan and tackling the root cause, slowing the flow of rainwater going into the combined sewer, whilst increasing capacity of our network, we can reduce their use.”

“Collaboration is key, and we cannot achieve the results needed alone. That is why we are calling on our customers and local authorities to work with us and adopt solutions like water butts or sustainable drainage systems, to channel rainwater safely and slowly back into the environment. Together, we can go faster and further, protecting our communities and our environment.”

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