Wednesday, 20 June 2012
Seaside Sewage Spill Snub
Independent Councillor and Chairman of Thanet Council’s Overview & Scrutiny Panel (OSP), Ian Driver, has expressed his “incredulity” at the Environment Agency’s refusal to attend a public meeting and answer questions about their role in dealing with the recent Southern Water sewage spillage into the sea off Foreness Point.
The spillage which took place over the Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend led to the closure of all of Thanet’s award winning beaches for over a week.
Said Driver, “the spillage was a major environmental disaster that has cost local businesses a lot of money. Local people have a right to know what went wrong and why, and what steps will be taken to stop this happening again”.
In a letter to Thanet Council Alan Cansdale Environment and Waterways Manager for Kent and South London said that “I have had the advice from our Regional Solicitor that, given that we are undertaking a formal investigation, we should not take part in the scrutiny meeting”.
In response to the letter Driver said. “I cannot see how a factual explanation of the actions taken by the Environment Agency in relation to the spillage can in any way jeopardise formal investigations or possible prosecutions. Perhaps there might be other reasons why the Environment Agency might not want to appear at the meeting and answer questions”
“I will not accept Mr Cansdale’s excuses and will be asking his boss and the responsible government minister to review his decision.
Thanet people have had to cope with the disastrous consequences of this serious environmental disaster. Now it seems as though the Environment Agency want to add to the damage by pouring buckets of the brown stuff over our democratic efforts to investigate”