In 1996 Southern Water were proposing to build a massive network of pipes to pump all of the Island’s sewage to Yaverland and discharge it through a 3.25kn pipe into Sandown Bay after only giving the sewage Primary Treatment (this means they only actually filter out the big lumps).
It was going to cost the in excess of £70 million and cause major disruption to the Island.
At that time I was studying part time at the IW College and decided I wanted to try and do something positive about our sea’s around the Island. Being a surfer I had come down with nasty colds, sore throats etc etc.. after surfing at Little Hope Beach or Ventnor.
I wrote to many individuals including all the Island councillors, Professors of Biology, HR Prince Charles and many others. I contacted the Surfers Against Sewage who were well aware of Southern Waters proposals and they made me the Islands representative for the SAS. With local people and concerned councillors I was instrumental in starting ‘Campaign Clean Sea’.
Surfers Against Sewage, along with local people and the IW Surf Club then organised a protest march along Sandown sea front from Yaverland to Sandown Pier to raise awareness of what Southern Water were planning to do. On the 8th May 1996 at 11am, Surfers Against Sewage turned up at Yaverland in wetsuits with the gas masks on, many Island surfers were there, along with hundreds of concerned Islanders. The march finished at Sandown Pier with speeches by the Surfers Against Sewage, local councillors and concerned Islanders.
by Paul Blackley