Published on Tuesday, 26th January 2016

Interesting discussion organised by the Langstone Harbour Board Advisory Committee last night. The purpose was to discuss the decline in fish and marine wildlife in the harbour and the debate hinged around whether Southern Water’s discharges during heavy rain are to blame.


We really no nearer to an answer to that question, but it was interesting to hear the opposing points of view. Long term harbour users pointed out that whereas once it took a dozen boats two weeks to harvest the oysters, last year it took two boats just a couple of days. Some types of fish have also declined, with once-common flounders having experienced a particular decline, along with shore crabs and sand eels. They link this to Southern Water’s Fort Cumberland operations, where waste is released during particularly heavy rainfall.


Southern Water on the other hand pointed to a record of investment over the last twenty five years. Perhaps the most important change was the first, when in 1993 a 5.7km outfall pipe was built to discharge into the sea waste not sent to Budds Farm, Havant. Before then it was just dumped into the sea on an outgoing tide.


Also of significance is the recently completed Surface Water Separation Scheme, which as its name suggests tries to separate rain water from sewage and has lead to a one third reduction in the amount of water reaching Eastney during major downpours. Southern Water’s spokesman said this has meant just three discharges from Eastney over the first two months of the new system compared to 30 in the two months before.

The Environment Agency and the University confirmed that while there has been a decline in wildlife, it’s not possible to say with any certainty why that has happened. Discharges from Fort Cumberland are a possibility though.

Tags: Environment