Don't miss a story sign up to the North Devon Gazette's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Ilfracombe sewage nightmare on Channel 4 Dispatches tonight

12:32 03 February 2014

Channel 4 Dispatches reporter Antony Barnett will lift the lid tonight (Monday) on Ilfracombe

Channel 4 Dispatches reporter Antony Barnett will lift the lid tonight (Monday) on Ilfracombe's sewage flood misery.


Hard-hitting show will tell of residents battling floods of sewage on a tide of misery tonight (Monday) on Channel 4 at 8pm.

AS high tides batter Ilfracombe, the town is set to feature in a very timely episode of Channel 4 Dispatches tonight (Monday).

Floods: Your Money Down the Drain features several Ilfracombe residents faced with raw sewage pouring from their drains following heavy rain or high tides.

The show airs at 8pm on Channel 4 and with a weekend of seas breaching defences around Ilfracombe, could not be timelier, although as yet no incidents of sewage flooding have been reported, according to South West Water.

Tonight, presenter Antony Barnett speaks to resident Emma Hiles-McKellar as well as fishing shop owners John and Janet Fennell plus landlord Richard Wheeler.

Emma, joined by daughter Chloe, tells the cameras how more than five or 10 minutes of heavy rain was enough to see raw sewage coming up through the drain at her home and then through the kitchen sink. She says it has flooded her kitchen five times.

“It stinks, absolutely stinks,” she says.

“I think they need to sort it out really and think about what they put families like myself through.”

The show reports how South West Water has offered to drop the sewage charges from Emma’s bill, but she claims the problem still hasn’t been fixed or compensation offered.

John and Janet Fennell at Variety Sports fishing tackle shop in Broad Street told the show they had been running the shop for more than 20 years, and suffered sewer flooding for the past 12:

“When the sewer fills up it backs up our sewer, comes up a small drain we have in the back yard there, to a level where it goes into an air brick and flows underneath the floors of the shop and the stock room,” said John.

“Well we are in our sixties now, we’ve worked the business hard for over 20 years and we’d like to retire and obviously sell the business as a going concern.”

Royal Britannia landlord Richard Wheeler told Dispatches raw sewage had also flooded the pub patio four times in the past year.

The show claims following a Freedom of Information request to the Environment Agency, South West Water is at number five on the list of the ‘worst sewage polluters’ with 30 incidents, but says the company made £130million last year.

In a statement to the North Devon Gazette, South West Water said: “We recognise sewer flooding can be extremely distressing when it happens and take the problem very seriously. That’s why we are spending £42million in the five years to 2015 on improving the region’s sewerage pipes to counter the effects of the much wetter winters being experienced.

“We regret the internal sewer flooding Mr Fennell has experienced, the last occasion being last September. Ilfracombe is low-lying and when it rains very hard this can cause the sewers to fill up with storm water, leading to flooding problems.

“We have taken several actions to try to cure the problem for Mr Fennell, including: Upgrading the storm tank at Cheyne Pumping Station, regularly maintaining the valve for the sea outfall, installing pumped non-return valves to protect property.

“In addition, Mr Fennell has been compensated under the terms of our Guaranteed Standards of Service.

“So far the actions taken seem to have worked as, despite the terrible weather this year, we have had no reports of Mr Fennell’s property flooding. However, we remain ever-vigilant and will continue to do what is required.”

* See Floods: Your Money Down the Drain on Channel 4 tonight (Monday) at 8pm.


Other News Stories

Yesterday, 13:12

Efforts are underway to save the memories of local veterans before they are lost forever.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:45
Lorraine Cleverdon and Chris Taylor from  Highbullen Hotel (pictured with host Judi Spiers and guest speaker Peter Gorton) pick up one of two awards on the night. Picture: Nick Williams

Gold, silver and bronze at glittering evening for local hotels, restaurants and attractions.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:52
An artist's impression of how the food and retail area at Anchorwood Bank will look

Developers have submitted a planning application for the food and retail area of the Anchorwood Bank development.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:25

Open evening at Appledore Fire Station on Thursday, December 3.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:21
Torridge MP Geoffrey Cox is joined by pupils from Holsworthy Community College and Shebbear College as he presents the first stage of his Parliamentary Petition on rural roads to 10 Downing Sreet. Picture: Submitted

Government urged to do more to improve the condition of rural roads

Read more
Yesterday, 10:11
Crowds will gather for the Bideford light switch on this Sunday

Don’t miss the big switch on this Sunday on the quay

Read more
Sunday, November 29, 2015
Volunteers at Grosvenor Church with just some of the Christmas shoeboxes

Thousands donate boxes for needy children around the world

Read more
Saturday, November 28, 2015
Go North Devon staff and volunteers collecting for the SOS Appeal. Picture: Tony Freeman

Appeal to North Devon companies to help preserve ring and ride plus shopmobility services

Read more
Saturday, November 28, 2015
Was this artwork created by a celebrity? Place your bid in the Children's Hospice SW charity online auction

Children’s Hospice South West hosts secret online charity auction

Read more
Friday, November 27, 2015
Libby Ross of Devon and Severn IFCA tags a blonde ray in Bideford Bay. Picture: Steph Davies

Fishermen join tagging scheme to prove ray stocks are abundant off the North Devon coast

Read more

Christmas in North Devon

Christmas in North Devon

Christmas Magazine

Click here for your ultimate guide to
Christmas in North Devon

Local Weather



max temp: 12°C

min temp: 10°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition E-edition

Search for a job in Devon

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications