Michael Lilley with Benson at Appley Park April 2024

MICHAEL LILLEY

Prospective
Parliamentary Candidate

Liberal Democrat branding white text with yellow bird

Isle of Wight East

MICHAEL LILLEY

Michael Lilley with Benson at Appley Park April 2024

Isle of Wight East

Prospective Parliamentary Candidate

Liberal Democrat branding white text with yellow bird

MICHAEL LILLEY

Michael Lilley with Benson at Appley Park April 2024

Isle of Wight East

Prospective
Parliamentary
Candidate

Liberal Democrat branding white text with yellow bird

Action to Stop Sewage on Ryde Beaches has gone International

Source ? - Ariel view of Ryde Pier, Ryde, Isle of Wight

A French News Agency, AFP, visited Ryde last week and interviewed me as Ryde Mayor, regarding sewage spillages on Ryde and Appley Beaches which are within my Ryde Appley and Elmfield Ward as an IW and Ryde Town councillor. They had chosen Ryde and Isle of Wight as the spillages/sewage releases are some of the highest in UK on beaches by Southern Water. They approached me and I thought it was important to speak out and communicate how I and Ryde Town Council were confronting and discussing with Southern Water, how to tackle this unacceptable situation.

This story has gone world-wide from France to Thailand and highlights that action is urgently needed. Southern Water need to be hold to account and that is in a two-fold approach from Ryde Town Council which is keep pursuing a formal complaint and keep this in the public domain whilst having talks directly with Southern Water to put in place practical steps/solutions for Ryde. I want to see a Ryde Clean Beach and Sustainable Water Charter between RTC and Southern Water.

Ryde’s storm sewage crisis goes global: French news agency spotlights Isle of Wight’s battle for cleaner beaches (onthewight.com)

Raw sewage blights once-idyllic beaches on Isle of Wight (france24.com)

Raw sewage blights Isle of Wight beaches (bangkokpost.com)

The Scotfree | Raw sewage blights once-idyllic beaches on Isle of Wight

Raw sewage blights once-idyllic beaches on Isle of Wight (phys.org)

My aim is to campaign and lobby for immediate action by Southern Water to stop spillages on Ryde and Appley beaches in short-term but negotiate with them a deliverable plan for Ryde to reduce spillages to zero. During, Covid19, Appley Park was blighted by a sink-hole that exposed the Appley sewage plant. This took 12-18 months to repair and put in measure to prevent it happening again. I successfully built a relationship with Southern Water but using a two-fold transparent strategy of speaking openly about the issue and negotiate effective action and compensation and support for businesses, and community organisations affected by the sink-hole. I have followed a similar approach to the recent increase in spillages.

In 2022, I submitted a formal complaint as Mayor of Ryde to Southern Water which is still on-going and in process. I had detailed talks with senior managers about the complaint last Friday and detail below what was discussed.

Ryde Mayor’s Draft Proposal and Idea – Ryde Water Charter (2023)

My vision is to not only reduce spillages/sewage releases to zero in Ryde but also have a sustainable water strategy that prevents this from happening again and this means diverting surface water into the sewage network that causes it to overflow and triggers releases into the sea and onto beaches.

Introduction/Background

Ryde Town Council formally complained in 2022 to Southern Water through a formal complaint letter to Southern Water’s Complaint Process by the Mayor, Cllr Michael Lilley, which is still on-going in April 2023 due to the 133 sewage spillages on Appley/Ryde Beaches with the legal/allowed spillages being 35. These sewage releases into the Solent have huge consequences to the environment on the protected site of Ryde/Appley beaches, health and well-being of residents and visitors and the tourist economy of the Town.

The Mayor (who is the Ward Councillor of Ryde Appley & Elmfield Ward which includes Appley & Ryde beaches) has had a dialogue with Southern Water about measures to reduce spillages to zero and practical deliverable solutions to mitigate future spillages. Climate Change has seen hot and dry summers alongside periods of strong rain days that cause flooding. Ryde geography and design is resulting in surface water not being retained in the soil but flowing in to main singe drainage system primarily for sewage which results rainwater just overflowing system and causes spillages/releases of water into Solent. These talks have resulted in the following proposal idea.

Proposal Idea

As part of the Ryde Place Plan, Ryde Town Council to have a MOU agreement (Ryde Water Charter) with Southern Water that reduces sewage spillage onto Ryde beaches by increasing the flow of sewage from Appley plant to Sandown and reduction of surface water going into sewage/drainage system by diverting water to sustainable water schemes.

The proposal will include Southern Water investment in reduction of spillages/releases to 35 legal minimum level and a commitment by Ryde Town Council to work with Southern Water to reduce the 35 to zero through a programme of sustainable water development projects. Environment Agency has agreed that Southern Water has agreed to increase/doubling the flow from the Appley Plant to  240 litres from 120 litres. This will dramatically reduce spillages.

£50m investment ‘marks the beginning of the end for storm overflows’ says Southern Water CEO (onthewight.com)

Clean Beaches Increasing Sewage Flow to Sandown, Reduction of Spillages on to Appley/Ryde Beaches

The proposal will include Southern Water investment in reduction of spillages/releases to 35 legal minimum level and a commitment by Ryde Town Council to work with Southern Water to reduce the 35 to zero through a programme of sustainable water development projects. Environment Agency has agreed that Southern Water has agreed to increase/doubling the flow from the Appley Plant to  240 litres from 120 litres. This will dramatically reduce spillages.

Sustainable Water Design and Reduction of Surface Water in High Street (Sustainable Urban Drainage)

Ryde Town and IW Councils are in negotiation with Southern Water that the current Ryde Historic High Street Action Zone will be redesigned to divert surface water from roofs into sustainable water features. The suggestion is that Southern Water will finance the maintenance of Ryde Town Council maintaining these features for 3 years with RTC building the work into their own Town maintenance programme in long-term.

Water Butts – Reduction of Surface Water from Household Roofs

Southern Water have carried out a pilot scheme in Havenstreet where free water butts were fitted to two-thirds of households which have reduced 70% of surface water going into drainage/sewage network. The proposal/idea is to have a free water-butt fitted roll-out programme in Ryde with Ryde Town Council having a team of fitters contracted and financed by Southern Water with the aim to reduce surface/rain water going into sewage network and retain water for gardens thus reduction of mains water use in summer months.

Sustainable Allotments – Quarry Road Project

RTC is in negotiation with SSE for the transfer of waste land to be a new Community allotment/garden/orchard adjacent to Quarry Road allotments. This project would be designed to be a model sustainable water allotment project which could be rolled out to all RTC allotments.

Sustainable Water and Surface Water Reduction projects across the Town

RTC, Southern Water, local residents/community organisation, local schools, Ryde stakeholders and University of Portsmouth to have a Ryde Water Charter working group to develop a range of water efficiency and green Ryde projects around the Town. For example every school could have sustainable water plans/projects involving their pupils. Every park/public green space could have a sustainable water plan/project.

Way Forward

I am exploring the best way to forward discussions with Southern Water as follows:

  1. Ryde Town Council to agree a motion at next Full Council to go into negotiations with Southern Water to develop and finalise the Ryde Water Charter.
  • RTC to discuss with relevant University of Portsmouth departments through existing MOU agreement to engage with RTC and Southern Water in developing the Ryde Water Charter.
  • Southern Water and RTC staff teams to develop a deliverable a financially viable business case for implementation in 2023/24.
  • Establishment of a Ryde Water Charter working group.
  • Development of a Ryde Sustainable Water Strategy alongside a Ryde Renewable Energy Strategy with University of Portsmouth and utility companies as part of an overall Climate Change and Biosphere strategy that integrates with the Ryde Place Plan.

Related Posts

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