💩Sewage pumped into the sea, rising suicides in the city, and more📈
Plus cycle hanger popularity, cost of living crisis charity and more.
Good morning, and welcome to the Brighton Seagull and this week's Monday Briefing, coming at you on a Tuesday because it's a Bank Holiday! We hope you all had a nice one—here at Seagull Towers we were editing articles for next month. We know how to have a good time.
News This Week
Politicians outraged over sewage released into sea
Politicians across the city have been calling for Southern Water to act following recent reports of sewage being pumped into the sea.
Every Brighton and Hove MP has spoken out against it, as well as council leader Phélim Mac Cafferty, all calling for urgent action from Southern Water.
When there is heavy rain, sewer networks (especially old ones) can't cope with the amount of water in pipes and storage tanks. When they're full up with rain, Southern Water use 'storm overflows' (pressure relief valves) for excess water to be released. This can include sewage.
Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP said:
Crocodile apologies from Southern Water are not good enough. This should be never events not every few month events. Raw sewage cannot be discharged like this in the sea.
We need to hold our sewage companies to account, if they can’t manage a small downfall of rain in the largest drought in a century then what are the good for!
While Caroline Lucas MP wrote:
The bottom line is that our privatised water system has utterly failed – and water networks must be brought back into public hands. Public ownership both works better, and is more popular, than private ownership – as nationalised Scottish Water already proves.
On Tuesday 16th August there were 14 sewage warnings across Sussex (according to Surfers Against Sewage), including in Seaford which is a Marine Protected Area (an area specifically set up to protect fragile wildlife and habitats).
The council said back in July it would 'keep challenging' Southern Water on the sewage it releases, while Phélim Mac Cafferty said he was 'disgusted' by it, calling Tuesday 'another sad and stark day for our environment'.
Southern Water's Nick Mills, the man in charge of the Storm Overflow Task Force, gave a presentation to the council's Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee back in July where he discussed the problems the company has around an old local sewer network in need of replacement, while also saying sea sewage from overflowed sewers is not acceptable.
This isn't the first time Southern Water has released sewage either: in July 2021 it was fined £90 million, having released between 16 billion and 21 billion litres of raw sewage.
The council encourages people to use resources like Surfers Against Sewage, which shows areas of sewage release on an interactive map, and Cllr Mac Cafferty has said he will meet with Southern Water’s Chief Executive to 'challenge them to stop this appalling behaviour and act urgently for our health and environment'.
Two men jump into the sea from Palace Pier
The Seagull understands that two men were taken to hospital after reports of having jumped into the sea off the Palace Pier.
The pier was surrounded by police cars, ambulances and RNLI vehicles on Sunday evening at approximately 7pm, shortly after a helicopter had been seen flying over the sea between the Marina and the Pier.
A spokesman for Sussex Police said:
Two men have been taken to hospital having reportedly jumped into the sea from Brighton Palace Pier.
Police were alerted to the incident at about 6.55pm on Sunday, August 28.
Officers supported emergency service partners at the scene and the men were left in the care of the ambulance service and taken to hospital.
The Seagull has contacted both South East Coast Ambulance Service and the RNLI for comment.
🖋 News in Brief 🖋
- Bagelman is coming to St James’s Street! It will be open every day, 9am to 4pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 4pm on Sunday. All the bagels are handmade and vegan, baked fresh daily at Bagelman's Bond Street bakery. We love Bagelman, and are very excited to see the company expanding again after the closure of their train station store.
- A structural survey of Madeira Lift has revealed it needs to be shut for the rest of the year, The Seagull has learnt. According to the council's Seafront Development manager, this is because the steel ring beam supporting the brick lift shaft and the top timber porch is extremely corroded and needs replacing, and the timber structure is at risk of collapsing.
- Just one month after being installed, all of the new 120 cycle hangar spaces have been allocated to people across the city. In the next few weeks another 40 will be installed. Locations will be advertised through a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) before the hangars are confirmed for installation. Anyone can apply for a space in a cycle hangar as long as you live close to a hangar and there is availability. Each space costs £60 per year, £39 for six months or £24 for three months. Residents who wish to apply for a space should email [email protected] or call them on 01538 380080, specifying which hangar they would like a space in. They will then be contacted about the next steps. If there are no spaces available, residents will be placed on a waiting list and informed when one becomes available.
- Brighton & Hove Citizen's Advice, Brighton & Hove Food Partnership and the council are still working together on the Brighton & Hove Cost of Living Crisis Appeal. With the energy price cap rising even further this October, several households have said they neither want nor need the £150 council tax rebate designed to help with rising energy costs and so are being encouraged to donate it to the appeal. Since May it has raised more than £36,000 and is directly supporting the most vulnerable households in the city with fuel and food vouchers. No salaries or overhead costs will be paid for from this fund, so all donations will be used for those who need them. To donate to the appeal, click here.
The Big One
Suicides in BN2 more than double in the last five years
What's happening? An FOI request has revealed the rate of suicides in BN2 has more than doubled in five years.
I've got no jokes to make about that. Yeah, good. Daniel Harris, a housing activist and homelessness advocate, asked Sussex Ambulance Trust: From 2016-present, each year separate for scrutiny, a full list of reasons why an ambulance was dispatched and when to anyone in the BN2 postcode.'
What's the data? The data revealed than in the last six years, ambulances have been called for 875 suicides in the BN2 area. This does not include incidents including attempted hangings, or suicidal ideations.
Any analysis? In 2016, there were fewer than 10 ambulance calls for suicides. This increased nearly sevenfold in 2017 to 68 calls for suicides. The numbers continued to increased year on year up to a peak of 185 calls in 2019.
The data show a decrease from then, down by 17 to 168 calls in 2020 and 162 in 2021. However, so far in 2022 there have been 160 calls for suicides.
Assuming calls are evenly spread through the year, 2021 had 162 calls total, therefore would have had 13.5 calls for suicide a month. 2022 has had 160 calls so far, working out as 20 calls for suicide a month. If the calls continue at this rate, there could end up being a total 240 calls for suicide by the end of this year.
Where can I read more? To read the full FOI request response from South East Coast Ambulance Service, click here.
What can I do to help? Look out for those in need of help, and donate where you can to help people with the rising cost of living, something that will inevitably affect people's mental health even more in the coming months.
The Brighton Seagull would like to encourage any readers struggling with their mental health to reach out for help. Samaritans are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, on their website or on 116 123 for free.