A payment boycott of Southern Water has been in place since last October as a protest against sewage dumping by the company.
This was not part of any action by the local campaign group, SOS-Whitstable, but an action begun independently by 4 individuals based in Whitstable: a couple, Steven Wheeler and Emma Gibson, Conservative councillor, Ashley Clark and myself.
For more info see this piece on Whitstable Views and the links beneath it which act as a repository of info on the boycott:-
The boycott spread over Kent and elsewhere and in an update to boycotters on 27th January, I let them know that Southern Water had offered a deal to a resident in East Kent (Walmer) for her to pay only 50% of her bill. The resident had been offered this on the phone and she was going to let me know if/when the company put this offer in writing to her, but I had not heard further.
However, one of the original boycotters here in Whitstable, Conservative councillor, Ashley Clark, also received such an offer (50% discount) and he agreed to this and has been waiting for Southern to cash his cheque as due confirmation of the agreed deal.
This happened today, and Ashley has duly notified me and the local press – and I have just notified contacts on this issue in the national press.
Clearly, this has important implications for the rest of us engaged in this boycott which has been staged as a protest against Southern Water having demanded full payment for wastewater services and treatment when there has been so much sewage dumping by the company.
Now that the company has given a 50% discount on the original demand to one boycotter, and offered concession to another resident in Kent, then clearly the company must offer the same discount to the remaining boycotters and, if Southern Water agrees to that, then in the interests of fairness, all Southern Water’s customers must expect the same.
In turn, this must have implications for other water companies in the UK who have been sewage dumping in our seas and waterways.
Julie Wassmer is a TV drama writer and author. She has lived in Whitstable for over 20 years and campaigns on environmental and community issues.
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