The Solent Protection Society pollution group has made a detailed study over the past six months of the main issues that affect the environment of the Solent. Using Environment Agency data and the output from a series of questions raised with Southern Water under ‘Environmental Information Requests‘, the group has been building a data picture of the environmental position for the whole Solent and the rivers that flow into it. The more we look at the collected data, the more appalled we are at what we have found.
As we are starting to come out of the Covid lockdown the pollution group feels it is time for a more active approach to be taken. The group has lobbied local members of parliament to support the private member’s Sewage Bill that may be proceeding through the House of Commons. We have also been in contact with one of the main Solent polluters, Southern Water, where some progress has been made.
Wastewater companies can release untreated wastewater into rivers or their tributaries. In heavy rain conditions there is an allowance that untreated water can be released to prevent flooding. While Southern Water release data relating to the duration and location of these spills, there is no information available as to the volume of these spills. This point has been picked up by others and relayed to a meeting of the government’s Environmental Audit Committee. The available data from the Environment Agency details the the dangerous substances which are being released into the water bodies which drain into the Solent.
The main focus of the SPS Pollution group is on damage to Solent waters, its wetlands and the shoreline but we are also mindful of the harm caused to the atmosphere by airborne pollution from shipping and industrial sources in the region. The nature of the Solent Protection Society, the profile of our current membership and our limited social media presence leads us away from ‘direct action’ and towards a more formal lobbying approach to move our concerns forward. However, our Council members maintain contact with local campaigning groups and communities through their personal accounts on social media and points of interest are raised at our regular Council meetings. As a Society, our approach is to engage with organisations and authorities at local, regional and national levels, bringing to bear the professional knowledge and personal networks of our Council members as we lobby representatives to use their powers to control the organisations that are spoiling the area we enjoy.
We believe that the only way to stop the present deterioration is to keep up constant pressure at the highest level of the businesses and organisations directly or indirectly responsible for causing the damage to the Solent environment. We will continue to document our concerns, raise issues directly with these bodies, and share replies with our peer groups and our members. Because of Parliamentary lobbying rules, individual SPS Council members can only lobby the MP who represents the constituency in which they live. As a Society, we can also lobby MPs ‘on behalf of our members in their constituency’, but our experience is sadly that the less enlightened MPs simply ignore such lobbying efforts. If you are a member of SPS and would like to help by lobbying your own Member of Parliament and local councillors, we would be delighted to hear from you.
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