Southern Water are in the process of preparing the first Drainage and Wastewater Management Plan (DWMP) and have reached the early scoping consultation stage. A full formal public consultation on the DWMP will be undertaken in the summer 2022.
This report, therefore, seeks agreement that the provisional comments summarised in this report (fully amplified in the officer provisional letter of response sent by the due deadline [Appendix 1]) and any other matters raised by Members forms the basis for the Council’s response to the documents published for consultation from 21 September to midnight on 26 October.
Upon the invitation of the Chair, the Planning Policy and Conservation Team Leader presented his report. He explained that Southern Water were in the process of preparing their first Drainage and Wastewater Management Plan (DWMP) and had reached the early scoping consultation stage. Following workshops with Officers, the provisional comments summarised in the report and any further matters raised by Members would form the basis for the Council’s response to the documents published for consultation. He highlighted particular concerns mentioned in the response, including wastewater capacity and storm water discharging, Pagham harbour and water neutrality, the need for strategic guidance in the area to support higher design standards with regards water efficiency, climate change and carbon reduction and the potential for water storage and nature-based solutions.
Members then took part in a full debate on the item where a number of points were raised and responded to by Officers including:
· this being a strategic issue not just for Arun, and questions over the role being played by and consultation with the Strategic Planning Board
· the need for more to be made of Arun being a tourist economy and the impacts to the economy when water quality is negatively impacted
· regeneration being hampered by a private company not doing what they should be doing
· the District’s Victorian plumbing and the recent growth in housing numbers
· concern that, in the data provided in the report, Ford is clearly at the bottom and in need of urgent attention in terms of water treatment
· strengthening the messages around blockages which were a significant problem, wet wipes being a key element and the need for something to be done nationally to stop this happening
· Arun being in a lesser position to challenge Southern Water than other Authorities
· the Environment Agency and actions at Pagham Harbour
· climate change and the predicted extra rainfall causing significant problems in the future, and the need to keep extra rainwater out of the system
· the need for an emphasis on the impact new housing developments would have on worsening pre-existing sewage and wastewater issues that were not being dealt with now
· untreated sewage going into Pagham harbour and being strong with Southern Water about what needs to be done
· the re-commissioning of redundant assets, as mentioned in the report
· tidal and pumped water storage and nature-based solutions, and too much of a focus on keeping water on the land when perhaps we should focus on getting it off the land
· whether more on-land water storage could lead to more flooding
· discharges on the eastern side of the District, and the impact on draining capacities of developments in neighbouring Authorities and whether concerns over these impacts could be strengthened around the Ferring Rife
· whether nature-based solution, for example, would need to be delivered through the planning system and paid for through development, and Southern Water’s role as a stakeholder and in providing infrastructure
The Planning Policy and Conservation Team Leader provided Members with responses to all points raised during the debate. He noted that Natural England had yet to do a study into pollutants at Pagham Harbour (as it had at Chichester Harbour, which in turn evidenced higher design needs to meet identified requirements) and the response in part calling for the need for a consistent approach across regions. And in response to questions about water storage and nature-based solutions, he highlighted that Arun had a high water table and was prone to surface water flooding, and that Southern Water would be asked to look at all sorts of flood alleviation as well as requirements now for biodiversity net gain (through wetlands and carbon storage etc).
The recommendation was then proposed and seconded.
That comments set out in sections 1.7 and 1.8 of this report (including Appendix 1) together with any other matters raised by members be agreed as the basis for Arun District Council’s formal response to the consultation.