A swimming and surfing charity is calling on the city’s political parties to commit to tough anti-sewage policies ahead of the local elections.

Surfers Against Sewage wants Brighton and Hove City Council candidates to commit to a raft of measures including erecting physical signs near all sewage outfalls and reducing sewage outfall numbers to zero by 2030.

It comes after recent figures from Surfers Against Sewage’s map revealed a “shocking” 295 pollution alerts across Brighton, Hove, Saltdean and Southwick in 2022.

Stuart Davies, a volunteer regional representative for SAS, said: “People are increasingly swimming, surfing, kitesurfing, stand-up paddling, rowing, sailing, kayaking and windsurfing all year round on many of our city beaches, and inland rivers. That we cannot do so safely due to reckless raw sewage releases is an utter disgrace.

The Argus: Photo by Ciaran McCrickardPhoto by Ciaran McCrickard

“We want to see the local political will to tackle this.”

Surfers Against Sewage want Brighton and Hove City Council to install gauges on all surface water outfalls by June this year, put up physical signs on all combined sewer outfalls by June this year and get Southern Water to reduce storm outfall use to zero by 2030.

The charity also wants the council to lobby the government for removal of the automatic right to connect to the public sewer in new developments, as well not granting planning permission for developments without sustainable urban drainage systems (SuDs) which reduce demands on sewers.

They would also like a city-wide programme of retrofitting SuDS in city parks and streets by the end of this year.


They want the council to agree a motion by the end of this year to improve awareness and commitment to recovery of offshore ocean habitats such as kelp beds for biodiversity.

A spokeswoman for the Green Party said: “We believe that the discharge of sewage into our seas is a scandal and Southern Water must act.

“Over the last few years, Green councillors have worked alongside Surfers Against Sewage to challenge Southern Water and will continue to do so.

“We have committed in our manifesto to both continuing this challenge, as well as introducing more sustainable urban drainage systems in the city.”

The Argus: Lancing beach has seen sewage dumps beforeLancing beach has seen sewage dumps before

A Labour spokesman said: "Brighton and Hove Labour Group of councillors have consistently condemned the dumping of untreated sewage in our coastal waters by Southern Water.

"As part of our 2023 citywide manifesto, Brighton and Hove Labour Party has stated that ‘we will partner with other coastal councils to challenge Southern Water over discharging sewage into our seas but also on the growth and maintenance of kelp farms.

"A Labour council will actively consult with local community groups on what happens next, so we get the best outcomes for our city’.

"This is a commitment that a Labour administration on the council will pursue robustly."

The Conservatives were approached for comment.