Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Bulled, Campbell, Cann, Chesters, Henderson, Hunt, Orange and Yabsley.


Declarations of Interests


There were no declarations of interest announced.


Joint Agenda item with Torridge District Council - Presentations from South West Water and the Environment Agency

An opportunity to hear from partners from the Environment Agency and South West Water regarding rivers and bathing waters in Torridge and North Devon – specifically in relation to the management and monitoring of water quality in the area.



The Committee received a presentation from the Environment Agency (EA) in relation to the EA’s regulation of sewage.

Dave Trewolla, Team Leader for Integrated Environment Planning at the EA provided the Committee with the following overview:

·         The following legislations: the Water Framework Directive, Environment Act 2021, Shellfish Directive and the Bathing Waters Directive underpinned the statutory role of the EA.

·         To help enable the legislation the EA had to follow, plans were in place such as the Drainage and Waste Water Management plan, setting out how the EA would achieve its objectives and targets as well as the partners it would be working with.

·         Programmes detailing funding mechanisms for the partners were also in place so ensure the work could be carried out.

·         Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs), operate when the system is overloaded and helped avoid wastewater backing up into properties.

·         There was an increasing demand on this infrastructure, especially since the Pandemic, where more people were working from home and staying in the country when on holiday.

·         Climate change was likely to cause more intense rainfall, which would add to the impact of overloading the CSOs.

·         Since 2016, Event Duration Monitoring (EDM) was installed at 80% of the sewerage network, from 862 locations to over 12,000, with South West Water (SWW) monitoring over 1,200 of those locations.

·         This increase in monitoring gave an awareness of how the systems were operating.

·         The increase in monitoring was an increase in awareness not necessarily an increase in spills.

·         On 18 November 2021 the EA and The Water Services Regulation Authority, or Ofwat, launched an investigation into sewerage treatment works.  This was still an ongoing investigation and up-to-date information on the progress of the investigation could be found on the GOV.UK website.

·         The Asset Management Plans (AMP), had provided £1.4 billion investment by SWW since 1990.

·         Developing Drainage and Wastewater Management Plans (DWMP), helped protect the environment and reduced flooding from sewers and surface water.

·         A map was displayed detailing the location of the CSO’s and spillage frequency.  This was no reflection on compliance.

·         During 2021 there had been 1290 spills into the river Torridge.

·         It was not possible to comment on specific locations so as not to prejudice the ongoing investigation.

·         The water quality standards that applied to designated Bathing waters and Shellfish waters continued to be the same as used in the EU and it was not intended to change this at present.

·         The increase in ‘wild’ swimming had created higher demand for bathing designations.

·         Anyone could request to designate an area as bathing water and once this designation was in place then monitoring of the water quality would be carried out.

·         Shellfish water quality was improving but there was always more that could be done.

·         The Department for Fisheries and Rural Affairs (Defra) do not publish annual shellfish water quality statistics.

·         More investigation into influences affecting declining fish stock would need to be undertaken to gain an  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.