- Posted by: Canterbury Labour
- Category: Latest News
The following is a transcript of the speech given by local councillors Val Kenny, Chris Cornell (Labour), Neil Baker (Conservative) and Clare Turnbull (Green) at the SOS Rally on Sunday 9th October.
As we draw to an end what role to we have? What can we do to help the campaign? To keep the pressure up. We stand here together as councillors of different political parties united in one message. Together we can create change.
Here are 7 things you should look out for over the next 12 months.
- THE LOCAL PLAN
We all know we need to build new affordable housing but with new housing comes greater pressure on our sewage system. Next week Canterbury City Council announce how you can get involved in the local plan – a blueprint for how many homes we need to build over the next 20 years. You need to make it clear. All new houses should include measures to reduce water usage. They should be designed to hold and use rainwater. All homes and building should be water neutral.
- CITIZEN SCIENCE
Southern Water is working with Canterbury City Council on a citizen science project. In November SOS Whitstable will be looking for people to be trained up to record water quality along our beach and feed it back into the Environment Agency. Using the latest hi tech kit we will be taking control of the data.
- THE PATHFINDER
The sewage in our seas is caused by a sewage that can’t cope. A sewage system overrun by surface rain water. Over the next year Kent County Council will be working with Southern Water on ways to slow the flow – to prevent rainwater rushing into our drains. We’ll be digging new drainage ditches, burying underground storage tanks and asking you to do your bit. Next summer local residents will be asked to consider replacing their concrete drives with new planters, installing SMART water butts in their garden. Watch out and support us as we bring forward these plans.
- THE SWALECLIFFE BROOK
Southern Water has committed the derisory figure of £175k to make good some of its damage to the Swalecliffe Brook. It has drawn up designs and will be inviting people to an online meeting in October to review them. Have you say about this important environmental resource.
- CHECK YOUR OWN HOME
Some of the problem we have in town is with missed connections. Cowboy builders installing washing machines, so they flow into the freshwater Gorrell Stream which runs under much of Whitstable. If you have had work in the last ten years – check your plumbing. You’ll find information at www.connectright.org.uk
- BE VIGILANT
We know our seas so much more than Southern Water. If something goes wrong, we are amongst the first to see it. So, if you see a problem, report a problem. We shouldn’t see toilet paper or rag in our seas. We shouldn’t smell the waste treatment at Swalecliffe. We shouldn’t see water being pumped into the brook. If you see any of these report it.
You can report anything immediate to Southern Water on 0330 303 0368 or direct to the Environmental Agency. Copy in your local councillors and we can follow up any reports and get you’re the answers your deserve.
- KEEP THE PRESSURE ON
However complicated the problem of sewage is, it can be solved with government intervention. Its not that the problem can’t be solved, its that the government doesn’t want to solve the problem.
Forcing water companies to clean up their own mess will only be done with government backing and this government have shown that they are on the side of shareholders and not swimmers. When SOS Whitstable asks you to sign a petition. Sign it. When they encourage you to write to the government, sharpen those pens. This battle is long but with your support it is winnable.
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