These fines are piling up given recent changes in the scale of fines allowed, highlighting failures in investment and systems. The Environment Agency think this trend will decline up to 2020.

Southern Water fined record £2m for sewage leak on Kent beaches

Thanet council forced to close beaches for nine days due to ‘catastrophic’ leakage and public health concerns.

Southern Water has been fined a record £2m for flooding beaches in Kent with raw sewage, leaving them closed to the public for nine days.

The Environment Agency called the event “catastrophic”, while the judge at Maidstone crown court said on Monday that Southern Water’s repeat offending was “wholly unacceptable”. The company apologised unreservedly, as it did when fined £200,000 in 2013 for similar offences.

Southern Water’s wastewater pumping station at Margate suffered a series of failures in late May and early June 2012, which left it unable to cope with heavy rain. As a result raw sewage poured on to beaches, which were left strewn with tampons, condoms and other debris and cost more than £400,000 to clean up.

Due to health concerns, Thanet district council was forced to close beaches for nine consecutive days, including the Queen’s diamond jubilee bank holiday weekend. There were further illegal discharges from the pumping station in 2014, again forcing beach closures.

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