Response from Simon Jupp MP received Friday 1st April

Dear Mr Davidson,

I hope you are well.

Thank you for getting in touch on behalf of The Avenues Residents Association. May I apologise for the delay in responding, I am receiving a high level of correspondence at present.

As you will be aware, the Environment Act passed through Parliament last year. I set out some thoughts on the politics and policy of it all here and here at that time.

I’m keeping up a regular dialogue with South West Water about their plans to invest in East Devon – and urgently fix specific local problems as and when they do crop up like the foul flooding in Clyst St Mary. Long-term solutions clearly are needed with much better data, too. As you highlighted, part of the problem going forward is going to be more housing development in the district which should only be built if our sewage infrastructure can actually cope with it.

You mentioned issues relating to traffic to Maer Lane (Exmouth). South West Water provided me the following update last week:

“In terms of the ongoing projects at Countess Wear and Kilmington, and the knock on effect of increased tanker movements around Exmouth. Yes, there has been delays in both of these complex projects, here is a brief overview:

“Kilmington is a planned refurbishment project of the whole sludge digestion process. This involved draining, cleaning and replacing a large amount of the 2 sludge digesters and ancillary equipment we have on site. This was required to enable them to continue operating effectively long term and bring them up to current compliance standards. During this time with the digestion process offline, we have only been able to process indigenous site sludge. This has meant the sludge from other sites it normally receives has had to go elsewhere for further treatment. Some of which has been taken to Maer Lane STW. This project was originally due to be completed in January this year and is now in the final commissioning stages, with completion due by end of April. The delays are due to a number of factors but primarily Brexit and COVID, impacting the supply of products and materials, as well as contractor availability.”

“Countess Wear is slightly different as it is more reactive in nature. The original project was to replace the existing main sludge reception tank fibreglass roof. During the work there has been a series of equipment failures on other critical sludge processing equipment, requiring us to repair and hire in temporary equipment. The original project was due for completion in December, however due to further unforeseen issues it has extended the timescale. Other than Brexit and COVID, we also had our main contractor go into administration which caused a delay. Another consideration is due to the proximity of the site to our customers, we have to monitor conditions very carefully so as to minimise the odour impact we have on them. This delayed us taking the reception tank off line for repair until sludge levels were correct so as to not cause any more impact than absolutely necessary. We are now in the final stages of this repair and it is also due for completion at the end of April.”

“As stated previously, once these works are complete, we anticipate tankered waste movements into Maer Lane will reduce. However, as a licensed sludge treatment centre, it will still receive some for processing.”

I am in touch with the Deaf Academy to try to get Devon County Council to put a zebra crossing in Douglas Avenue. I hope we can get some good news soon.

Kind regards,

Simon

Simon Jupp MP

Member of Parliament for East Devon