May 23 2013 Latest news:
Dean Kilpatrick, Reporter
Sunday, July 1, 2012
Firms try to claim from Southern Water after sewage leak closes beaches for nine days
Four businesses in Thanet have made compensation claims to Southern Water after the sewage leaks that closed the isle’s seas last month.
The closures, which cost the local economy tens of thousands of pounds, hit up to 40 traders along the Thanet coast, and some are now seeking remuneration from the closures.
Joss Bay Surfing School boss Dave Melmoth said: “The closure will certainly have an effect this year – we have had a few school lessons cancelled as a result of the pollution.
“We haven’t put an exact figure on it yet, but it definitely in the thousands of pounds. Because our business relies on us going into the sea, we were one of the worst hit.”
Businesses on the coast of Thanet were affected by nine days of sea closures after raw sewage was discharged into the sea as the plant at Foreness Point failed to cope with heavy rain.
People were told not to going into the sea at any of Thanet’s beaches, or cross the hgh-tide line on the sand.
A Southern Water spokesman said: “We have had four applications for compensation from businesses, and we are working with them on an individual basis.
“We continue to work closely with Thanet District Council and the Environment Agency to look at what happened with this incident and what can be done to make improvements for the future.”
The water company has joined the Environment Agency in making a U-turn after they both initially turned down an invite to attend a public meeting to discuss the sewage leaks.
Chairman of Thanet council’s overview and scrutiny panel Cllr Ian Driver was furious when both bodies declined to attend the meeting scheduled for July 17 to discuss the series of events that led to the leaks.
Environment and waterways manager for Kent and South London Alan Cansdale initially said: “I have had the advice from our regional solicitor that, given that we are undertaking a formal investigation, we should not take part in the scrutiny meeting.”
However, Cllr Driver has now received letters from the Environment Agency and Southern Water outlining their intention to be represented at the summit.
Cllr Driver said: “I think a lot of local people will be coming along to listen to Southern Water, the Environment Agency and Thanet council about why, when and what will be done to get it right.
“People have a right to know what went wrong and why, and what steps will be taken to stop this happening again.
“A lot of local people lost money and it was also a major environmental disaster and we rely heavily on our beaches for tourism, jobs and trade.”
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