Environment Agency data shows there has been more than double the amount of storm overflows in Southampton waterways in 2023 compared to 2022.

New analysis of the figures shows Southampton water was hit by overflows for 3,878 hours last year.

This is a 115 per cent increase when compared to the year prior. The increase is linked to increased rainfall than normal in 2023.

The Met Office issued two red rain warnings for storm Babet in the second half of October, which was soon followed by Storm Ciaran in early November.

The figures show Eastleigh had 5,130 hours of storm overflow into waterways on 474 separate occasions.

The New Forest had an eye watering 151 per cent increase, with sewage spilling into New Forest water for 17,798 hours. 

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Fareham clocked up 2,028 hours and Gosport 2,226. These were 61 per cent and 64 per cent increases respectively.

The Liberal Democrats in Eastleigh have been campaigning against sewage releases and the party is calling for strict measures, including replacing Ofwat with a tougher regulator and a ban on bonuses for water company bosses.

Liz Jarvis, the Lib Dem candidate for MP in Eastleigh, said: “It is disgusting that Southern Water pumped their filthy sewage into our waterways so many times last year.

“On doorstep after doorstep, people across Eastleigh have told me how furious they are that filthy sewage has been pumped into their rivers and waterways – and they want to send this Conservative government a message.

“The Liberal Democrats have led the way for years in campaigning for tougher action. We want to see a tougher water regulator, an end to bonuses for polluting water company bosses and stronger protections for our local environment.

“Come the General Election, Liberal Democrats will be campaigning hard against this national scandal that has been allowed to take hold while the Conservative Government has sat on its hands and looked the other way.”