Action demanded as collapsed sewage pipe and flooding brings misery to islanders

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Richard Slee

(Picture credit: Reno Drain, Leahpar Ffar)

People living on the Isle of Wight are demanding compensation from Southern Water following widespread flooding which has caused thousands of pounds worth of damage.  

Homes and businesses were left under several feet of water following recent heavy rain, with the threat of more to come.

Credit: Leahpar Ffar

The manager of The Boat House arrived at work on Monday to find the pub in 4ft of water.

Joel Yearsley "We've got a marshland base behind the pub, and they've recently put drainage in out to sea. Obviously if the high tide comes in, backs up that, resulting in the marsh overflowing, and then into the pub."

Pub manager Joel Yearsley said: "The last time we were hit with something like this was about four years ago." Credit: ITV News Meridian

One care home on the island has been flooded twice in a week, which staff say is causing distress for the residents.

Care home manager Carolyn Elliot said: "They don't understand what is going on. Any change to their routine, because they've got a learning disability, is a big thing for them.

A care home in Ryde affected by flooding. Credit: ITV News Meridian

"Things that are normal everyday things, if it's not running the same, it's a big issue for them so it is impacting on their lives a lot."

In January a sink hole appeared on the island, badly damaging a 1m-wide sewer, which carries all of Ryde's waste water.

The Mayor of Ryde claims that ongoing work to repair the collapsed sewage pipe is at the root of the problem.

A sewage pipe is being prepared by Southern Water. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Cllr Michael Lilley (Ind) said: "I'm really angry that is has taken so long. Southern Water have said it will be done by the summer, then they said by September, now they're saying October.

"We believe it's probably going to be longer than that. They're not giving answers, and they're not talking to the town."

A spokesperson for Southern Water said: "Storm overflows (CSOs) play an essential role in preventing health risks and the flooding of homes, businesses, public buildings such as hospitals and schools, and wastewater treatment works. They are an integral part of the processes designed to manage wastewater nationwide and their use in times of heavy rainfall is closely regulated by the Environment Agency. We recognise that while legal, these releases are no longer considered acceptable.

"In the UK, years of local development of the surrounding environment, rapid growth in population, and the impact of climate change have added significant pressure to the network. 

"Our online storm release notification system, Beachbuoy, helps our customers and partners by providing near real time information about CSO activity at all 83 designated bathing waters and two recreational harbours. We lead the sector in making this information available. This is a significant part of our commitment to greater openness and transparency and we welcome the influence that it is having on the public debate about the use of CSOs.

"Southern Water recognises it must be part of the solution and is playing its part through a sustained programme of investment and activity. We are investing £1.7 billion over the next four years across the south-east to improve the capacity and efficiency of the wastewater network and reduce the number of releases from CSOs. This investment builds on the £3.2 billion Southern Water has already spent since 2015 to improve and maintain its assets across the south-east."