Politicians have been out and about on the election trail across Sussex.

Rachel Pegg and Jenny Legg listened to what candidates had to say at hustings on two key subjects - plans for a sewage plant in Peacehaven and issues affecting Brighton and Hove's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community.

The need for a new sewage treatment works is among the longest running and most controversial issues in Sussex.

It was no surprise about 500 people turned up at Peacehaven's Meridian Community Centre to hear politicians explain how they would tackle the issue if elected next month.

At the meeting on Wednesday, residents pledged to support demonstrations during public exhibitions organised by Southern Water, the company behind the bid for a sewage plant at Lower Hoddern Farm.

The site was proposed after a planning application to extend Southern Water's existing wastewater plant at Portobello was rejected by a public inquiry. Opponents of the new plan say they will fight "tooth and nail" to see it blocked as well.

Candidates standing for the parliamentary seat in the Brighton Kemptown constituency, which includes Peacehaven, said they would oppose the scheme on behalf of residents.

One man in the audience was applauded when he said he planned to protest at Southern Water's two day exhibition next month. Others said they would bring placards along.

John Hodgson, spokesman for The Peacehaven Residents Opposed to Urban Development group (Proud) who also chaired the meeting, said: "I'll be with you that day - so should everybody else."

Lib Dem Marina Pepper said: "The Liberal Democrats oppose the sewage works and propose an alternative site at Black Rock."

Dr James Chamberlain-Webber, standing for the UK Independence Party, said: "Certainly Peacehaven isn't the place for a huge sewage works. We have got to find a place that isn't going to be offensive to other people."

Dr Des Turner, Labour candidate for Brighton Kemptown, said: "They are going to have a great struggle to get this through East Sussex County Council as a planning authority.

"We can fight it off but it has to be done by careful argument."

Judith Symes, Conservative candidate, said: "It is incredibly important to the people of Peacehaven to find the right solution. Other people's sludge coming into your town is completely unacceptable."

Richard Mallender, a Brighton and Hove city councillor who was representing Green candidate Simon Williams, said: "There are other sites which the Green Party think should be up for consultation. That would be brownfield sites, not greenfield."

John Livings, East Sussex county councillor for Peacehaven area, said the plans would be published in local media next Friday. After that there will be a six-week period of consultation, which may be extended.

There were also discussions about plans to build homes in the area.

Southern Water will exhibit its plans on May 24 and 25. Proud will hold a meeting on June 2. Bovis Homes will hold an exhibition about its development on June 8.

Another key issue for local candidates in this election will be winning the support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) voters.

Identity cards for transsexuals and employment laws to protect gay and lesbian workers were among issues debated by politicians this week.

Scores of people attended a hustings event organised specifically for LGBT voters to listen to personal and party policy on everything from Iraq to city academies.

Richard Black, the Labour parliamentary candidate for Lewes, defended ID cards when questioned by member of the audience who said he found the idea intrusive to his private transgender past.

Mr Black said: "I'm not clear ID cards are a valuable way to spend the money but I don't understand the fuss made over civil liberty issues.

"We are practically the only European country which doesn't have ID cards and they can play a good function in getting legitimate services for people."

There was strong criticism of the scheme from other politicians.

Simon Williams, the Green candidate for Kemptown, said: "ID cards are about control. The idea that they are going to prevent terrorism is total rubbish. They simply provide the operating platforms for future erosions of civil liberties."

Conservative candidate Nicholas Boles said: "Determined terrorists will be able to copy these cards. I certainly don't want anything to do with them."

Lib Dem Paul Elgood said: "We are strongly opposed to ID cards. We would use the money on putting more bobbies on the beat."

Paddy O'Keeffe, from the Respect unity coalition party, said: "I think the introduction of ID cards is a gross invasion of privacy."

Protection for workers discriminated against by religious employers, who are currently exempt from employment laws to stop this, was also raised by voters.

Mr Boles said: "Any religious group here should abide by the same laws as everyone else. Whether everyone in my party agrees I don't know but I am quite happy to do anything to amend that law."

Mr Black said he hoped a third Labour government, which introduced the employment legislation and repealed Section 28, would be able to amend the law but that there may have to be a compromise because of opposition to the change.

Anthea Ballam from the Green Party said: "It is absolutely atrocious religious employers are able to have a line all of their own. We really must stop religious lunatics spouting homophobic rubbish."

Mr Elgood said: "Flawed legislation is no good. This should have been dealt with properly at the time."

Mr O'Keeffe said: "I think this is Mr Blair's blind spot.

"I think he has an agenda on faithbased education."

Spectrum, the community forum of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Society organised the event at the Old Market in Hove.

Friday, April 22