Widespread public opposition to effluent recycling confirmed in Southern Water report

Widespread public opposition to plans for effluent recycling has been confirmed in Southern Waters report summarising the response to the summer 2022 public consultation relating to the Hampshire Water Transfer & Water Recycling Project. The report confirmed that;

  • 48% of people did not support Water Recycling
  • 46% of people did not support the options appraisal process
  • 41% of people did not support the selection of the Broadmarsh landfill (site 72) at Havant for the location of the new Water Recycling Plant.
  • 56% of respondents assessed the promotion of the consultation as poor or very poor

This report was not available at the time when Southern Water prepared the latest draft WRMP consultation documents, and as a result this important information on customer views was not included in the relevant consultation documents, nor in the Company options appraisal and evaluation on the most appropriate way forward to meet demand shortfalls.

While the text of the Southern Water feedback report does not honestly reflect the concerns expressed by the public in response to the 2022 consultation, the numbers opposed to the proposal speak for themselves. It is worth noting that you could win a general election with these statistics, but unfortunately Southern Water are not listening and continue to claim that there is public support for their plan, which is clearly not the case.

We are asking that Defra take into consideration the strong public opposition to the selection of effluent recycling.

It is worth noting that where effluent recycling is used abroad in drought stricken countries case study reports emphasise the importance of getting the community on board before any scheme proceeds. Southern Water have clearly not done that. In fact both the summer 2022 and latest public consultation have not been widely advertised by the Company, with 56% of respondents assessing the promotion of the consultation as poor or very poor. That only reflects the opinion of those that happened to find out about the consultation in the first place!