Southern Water Is Accused Of ‘Dodging Responsibility’

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Residents of Tonbridge, Kent along with their Local Conservative MP, Sir John Stanley, have implicated that Southern Water are “dodging responsibility” and not offering any compensation for customers who suffered with problems from sewage during the flooding last Christmas.


In the immediate aftermath of the flooding, Sir John wrote to Southern Water to demand to be told how exactly future blockage of the drains around Danvers Road, would be prevented and what steps were being taken to ensure this would happen. The drains near Danvers Road were what was responsible for the streets and peoples homes being filled with sewage.

Sir John also contacted the Environment Agency, Kent County Council and Defra Secretary of State Owen Paterson by letter to find similar assurances that there would be action taking place to prevent this type of event taking place again.

However, the MP says that he still waiting on what he would consider to be an adequate response from Southern Water.

In the mean time, Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council and the Environmental Agency have pledged to spur on a project to improve the flood defences, that is worth around the £38 million mark.

Sir John said that

Despite the other parties having committed to ensuring that flooding on this scale will not be repeated, all I have had from Southern Water is platitudes and generalisations. Through my conversations with the EA, this event was caused by inadequate drainage capacity – which is the responsibility of Southern Water. There has been a lot of buck-passing and Southern Water must commit to carrying out the capital investment necessary to avoid a repeat situation.

He has also continued to contact the EA, asking for a summary of the exact works that Southern Water are expected to undertake to ensure that future sewage leaks are prevented.

A spokesman for Southern Water said

The flooding in Tonbridge over the winter was caused by the extreme rain, January was the wettest on record and when groundwater levels are high, the drainage systems (which are the responsibility of other agencies) cannot cope.

Southern Water’s responsibility is for the collection and treatment of public wastewater in Hampshire, the Isle of Man, West and East Sussex and Kent. If you have found yourself suffering because of the impact of the Christmas flooding, you can ring Southern Water to find out what support they can provide you with, as well as enquiring about their future work in the area.

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