Nearly half a billion pounds has been spent on improving Sussex’s waterways in the last five years, Southern Water says.

The under-fire water company say they have spent hundreds of millions on improvement projects in the past half a decade with plans for further improvements in the next year.

Despite the spending Southern Water still attracts criticism as sewage and wastewater continue to overwhelm the county’s seas and streets.

Southern Water says £333 million has been spent on waste and water improvement projects since the beginning of 2020.

This includes £23 million spent on new sewer infrastructure in Brighton and Hastings.

The largest sums of money have gone towards improving the quality of sewage and wastewater released into waterways.

John Penicud, director of wastewater operations at Southern Water, said the company enters an “absolutely crucial year”.

He added: “I’d like to reassure you that we are spending our billpayers’ and our shareholders’ money in an ambitious, targeted and evidence-based way to fix the issues we know we face.”

Southern Water is still mired in controversy as sewage continues to flow into seas, gardens and streets across Sussex.

Tankers in Southwick pumped water away from the "overwhelmed" sewage network earlier this month.

Swimmers and surfers also continue to protest at bathing sites across the county calling for Southern Water to clean up their act.