Southern Water

Water firm sorry for sewage leak

A water company has apologised for releasing sewage into the sea after a power failure at Newhaven treatment works.

Southern Water said there was a 25-minute release but said it did not affect any beaches.

"No pollution is acceptable to our customers or to us and we apologise," a company spokesman said.

The Environment Agency said the cause of the power failure was being investigated, but a spokeswoman for the agency said it was a minor incident and there was "low to no impact at the discharge point".

Southern Water: 'Where is the environmental fine?'

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

Water flowing out of sewage pipes
Getty Images

On Monday, Southern Water was hit with a record £126m punishment for spills of wastewater into the environment from its sewage plants and for deliberately misreporting its performance.

The penalty will see customers get a rebate of at least £61 each, but this translates to about £1 off bills a month over the next five years.

Mary Creagh MP, chair of the parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee, doesn't think this is enough.

"My question really for the regulator is: where is the environmental fine?," she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"We know that this company was systematically flooding the beaches and rivers of the southern portion of our country with raw sewage over a seven-year period, but there's no fine for the environment.

"What are they doing to make good the fish that they have killed and the environmental destruction they have caused?"

The water regulator has fined the company £126m
The water regulator has fined Southern Water for mismanagement and cover up.