Beach closed near Saint Leonards after major sewage spill on Sussex coast

  • Watch the video report by ITV Meridian's Tom Savvides

A major sewage spill on the Sussex coast has closed a beach near Saint Leonards.

Southern Water have sealed the leak but Hastings Council, who have assessed the damage, said they want guarantees it will not happen again.

A major pipe burst at Bulverhythe, between Hastings and Bexhill-on-Sea, and caused more than 540 litres a second, of foul water and sewage, to be released onto the local beach.

The incident comes just weeks after Southern Water was fined a record-breaking £90 million for thousands of illegal discharges of sewage, which polluted rivers and coastal waters across Kent and Sussex.

It comes just weeks after Southern Water was fined a record-breaking £90 million for illegal sewage discharges Credit: ITV Meridian

Councillor Paul Barnett, Deputy Leader, Hastings Council said they take any major incident very seriously.

He said: "Once we've got it cleaned up and the beach is open again, we will be sitting down with both the Environment Agency and Southern Water to ask them some searching questions.

"We want some guarantees that this isn't going to happen again."

  • Cllr Paul Barnett Deputy Leader, Hastings Council, Lab:

Engineers have repaired the sewage pipe that burst next to beach huts, just a few metres from the sea in Saint Leonards.

To prevent major flooding of nearby homes, Southern Water released the waste, which has closed the beach at Bulverhythe.

Although tankers have queued up to take away the sewage, the impact of the pollution to the local environment is not yet known.

Nick Mills, Southern Water said the company is "very sorry this has happened."

He said: "No pollution is acceptable to us or our customers. We stopped the release this morning at 9am following the burst sewer pipe. Our priority now is to ensure that harm to the environment is minimised and we start that repair."

  • Nick Mills, Southern Water:

Residents are being urged to keep off the beach and out of the sea until the area has been cleaned, which is expected to take 3-4 days.