Posted by: westlancashirerecord | May 1, 2018

Still No Sewage Relief Commitment For Politicised Burscough?

As reported in the Champion , Gavin Rattray and the Burscough Flooding Group (BFG) fight on and on for an end to the acceptance of poor sewage and regular flooding at some major developments in Burscough. Its fight is with political LCC and political WLBC, but BFG is accused of being politicised because of the stink it is raising. And BFG has been quick to acknowledge and welcome a new surface water management plan funded by Defra, but questions why the details of it are not open to scrutiny due to meetings held in secret.

LCC and WLBC have both claimed a willingness to work with flood action groups. LCC refers to working with flood action groups “that have been established to represent communities in line with national guidance with appropriate governance arrangements in place”. WLBC claims it “is unaware of any communication to Mr Rattray from the authority suggesting that the BFG is politicised or seeking to exclude him or the group from any public meeting relating to drainage matters”.

And there you have it. Some meetings are not open to scrutiny due to them being held in secret, some meeting are held in public and BFG can attend. Now read the small print. It’s all in the content of meetings without scrutiny.

In his letter to the Champion  Gavin Rattray refers to the article about UU’s claim of “Burscough flooding issues being down to residents’ disposal of inappropriate waste”. He points out that the UU chief executive had said the foul sewer flooding problems in Gower Gardens was due to insufficient drainage capacity and the problem wouldn’t even be considered for expenditure until 2020/2025. Yet “within weeks of Ofwat beginning an investigation into whether UU were deliberately under-recording sewer flooding, LCC and UU jointly dug up large parts of the area around Gower Gardens and re-routed the network to increase the capacity in that area”.

By coincidence and due to local elections the Labour party has an election poster “Let’s Take Our Country back” including “Water…Owned And Run By Great Britain”. Shouldn’t that policy be publicised all over areas of West Lancashire that flood, or is it just empty rhetoric?

In a separate twist to the behaviour of water companies, with the support of Environment Secretary Michael Gove, Ofwat , the regulator, has been setting out plans to reform the industry amid concern that public trust has been eroded by the levels of shareholder dividends and executive pay at some companies. One of the proposals as part of Ofwat’s ‘Trust in Water’ strategy is for customers to share any financial gains water companies make from adopting high levels of gearing (debt). Some water companies have replaced equity in their business with cheaper debt, which can result in higher returns for shareholders, without an equivalent benefit for customers. Ofwat wants companies taking this approach to share resulting gains with customers.

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