Severn Trent slated for ‘continuous’ sewage spills and ‘shoving away’ plans to stop discharges

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A councillor said Severn Trent’s promises of improvements are put into a “dark filing cabinet” and the company doesn’t know “what’s going on out here”

A water company has been slated by a local councillor over "continuous" sewage spills and "shoving away" promises of improvements in a "dark filing cabinet".

Westbury-on-Severn councillor Simon Phelps raised serious concerns about Severn Trent’s track record in dealing with spills during a development management committee on Tuesday (11 April).

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He made the comments as Forest of Dean councillors debated plans to build 17 homes off Foley Road in Hartpury.

Mr Phelps told the district council’s development management committee that sewage issues were well known in the Hartpury area. He said Severn Trent has held meetings in Westbury over the years but has never delivered on its promises.

He explained how there have been frequent overspills, making it “not a nice situation at all”, and questioned whether the company "really know what’s going on there".

Severn Trent said it is working hard to find a resolution and understands that any type of flooding can be distressing.

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Mr Phelps told the committee that Severn Trent has said it is “prepared to come and have a meeting with the parish council”.

He said: "All I can say is good luck to you. We’ve been having meetings with Severn Trent in Westbury parish for years.

"We have had promises of all manner of improvements and they go away and it’s just shoved away in some dark filing cabinet somewhere. And we never hear another word until they have another lot of complaints."

Mr Phelps questioned whether the water company “ever raises an objection to a housing development” and even knows “what’s going on out here”. He added: “With continuous sewage spills, it’s not a nice situation at all."

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A Severn Trent spokesperson said the company has been meeting regularly with residents and Hartpury parish council to understand their concerns regarding flooding in the area.

The spokesperson said it has installed sensors to “better understand flows in the sewers during periods of wet weather” and is“exploring ways to reduce the amount of rainwater getting into the sewers which will help protect properties affected when the sewers are overwhelmed during periods of wet weather.”

The spokesperson added: "While we do engage with the planning process, and our investment strategy is informed by longer-term projects for housing, we are not a statutory consultee and are bound by regulations that allow developers to automatically connect to the existing sewer network."

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