Residents affected by fly infestations in the Forge Rise area of central Uckfield are being asked to help build a legal case against Southern Water.
The flies come from the company’s water treatment works and have been a problem for many years.
At Easter, residents staged a protest march to the gates of the plant asking for remedial action. See our report here.
They are now being told to tell Wealden District Council every time there is a problem and to include photographs and videos as evidence.
County and district councillor Claire Dowling gave the advice when speaking at a meeting last night (April 12) of Uckfield Town Council.
She described it as an “horrendous” issue and said she had spoken on behalf of the residents to the head of Wealden’s environmental health department.
‘We know it is a nuisance’
“We need to get all residents that are affected to email [Wealden District Council] with photographs, dates of swarms. We need to produce as much evidence as we have got.
“We know it is a nuisance. We can get those reports sent to pollution [at Wealden DC] and when they see it is a statutory nuisance then Wealden can act to put forward an abatement notice and serve it on Southern Water.
“My understanding today is that Wealden are beginning to put a plan in place.
“They will be in contact with complainants who have already put in reports and they will actually be visiting.
“We need the history and to build up as much evidence as we can. We have to make sure they have all the information.
“Wealden can serve an abatement notice on Southern Water to get this issue resolved.”
Cllr Duncan Bennett noted Southern Water was adamant that it was doing everything it could and asked: “Should an abatement process go through, what would Wealden expect Southern Water to do that they can’t do, or are not doing at the moment?
“I am a bit of a loss to understand why they are not undertaking processes which may be forced upon them if an abatement goes through.”
Cllr Dowling said she would ask the question but said an abatement notice was a legal process.
“If you are served a legal notice, you have to resolve the issue and they should be resolving the issue now without having to go down this route,” said Cllr Dowling, adding: “Serving a legal notice on an entity may actually make them think about it a little bit more.
Flies are spreading across Uckfield
“It is not just on Forge Rise.
“We were down at the Meadows at the weekend and we are aware they are spreading. We need to get all that information in for the environmental health department to give it the teeth it needs to make Southern Water solve this issue.”
This website reported in March that there was ‘no easy’ solution to the problem. See our report here.
More from our files on the Uckfield flies
Glorious day and the flies are back (March 2021)