BEACHES in the area which are ‘perfect’ for watersports must be protected against sewage spills, councillors have agreed.
Worthing Borough Council backed the Surfers Against Sewage campaign, a national petition calling for legislation to protect popular surfing beaches, at a meeting of full council on last Tuesday.
With Goring and Lancing beaches heralded for their ‘perfect’ conditions, and Worthing-born champion kitesurfer Lewis Crathern claims to fame, councillors voted to support the calls.
The vote commits them to encourage the area’s MPs to fully support the campaign.
Proposing the recommendation, council leader Paul Yallop said: “Apparently, we have perfect waves and conditions for watersports and unfortunately, an incident in September 2012 forced us to close the beaches because we had a sewage spill. It was clearly very disappointing.
“We are proud of what Lewis has achieved and we want to support the surfers and see more of it in the area.”
He added: “Many of us have watched Lewis’ stunts and he is a great champion for Worthing.”
The incident Mr Yallop referred to related to a raw sewerage discharge from Southern Water’s East Worthing wastewater treatment plant.
It is spills like this that the campaign aims to protect beaches from.
Nationally, the campaign claims there were 549 sewage spills at 220 beaches included in Surfers Against Sewage’s Sewers Alert Service.
Councillor Tom Wye, who seconded the proposal, said legislation needed to be ‘tightened up’.
He said: “Our beaches are clean and I want to keep it that way.
“I want to see more people like Lewis doing crazy things to attract more people to Worthing.”
Mr Wye conceded that the recommendation was purely the start of what could be done.
He said: “Look at this as a start. Everything we need to do is in here.
“We do already actively support Lewis anyway.”
In support, councillor Christine Brown said she was delighted to support the motion and hoped it would attract the attention of watersports competitions in the future.
She said: “Ten or 12 years ago, surfers wanted to bring a major competition to Goring, but we wouldn’t have them.
“We want people to come to Worthing, and I hope they come again.”
The motion attracted unanimous cross-party support, with the council resolving to encourage MPs to support the petition.