The pipeline is the inaugural scheme for Anglian Water’s Strategic Pipeline Alliance (SPA), which will in total create hundreds of kilometers of interconnecting pipelines, making it longer than the M6, and the largest water infrastructure project the UK has seen for a generation.
This long-term project will be crucial in addressing the predicted future imbalance where demand for water greatly outstrips the available resources in the east of England. It will create the ability to move water in stages from wetter parts of north Lincolnshire to the south and east of the region, where it is less readily available. The new pipeline will also strengthen local resilience by reducing the number of homes and businesses which rely on a single water source.
As work continues on the first section, the water company has now submitted further planning applications to Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk Local Planning Authorities for permission to begin work on a further 99km of pipeline running from Grantham in Lincolnshire to Bexwell in Norfolk.
This section of pipeline will run from Wilsford Heath, south of Ancaster, via Welby Heath, to the east of Grantham, down to Etton, near Peterborough, ending at Bexwell, near Downham Market. It will include two new pumping stations and a new covered treated water reservoir at Welby Heath. Subject to planning consent work will commence on site later in 2022.
The mammoth project is part of Anglian’s Water Resources Management Plan, which looks 25 years ahead to make the East resilient to drought. Without taking this action, the East of England would face a water deficit of 30 million litres a day by 2025 due to the combined impact of a rapidly growing population, climate change, and being located in the most water-scarce part of the UK. That’s a shortfall of 4,380 Olympic swimming pools of water, every year.
Strategic Pipeline Alliance Director for Anglian Water, James Crompton said: “The strategic pipeline is vital in addressing the predicted ‘jaws of death’ moment for water availability in the East of England – the point at which demand for water greatly outstrips the available supply.
“That point in time is very real and not far into the future. Time is of the essence and crucially, we need local planning authorities to work with us to grant the necessary permissions as quickly as possible so we can meet these timescales. With 175,000 new homes to be built in the next few years, it is vital we ensure we have resilient infrastructure in place to support local authorities in delivering their Local Plans. We look forward to working with all of the local councils on developing these proposals.”
As a business with environmental and social purpose at its core, Anglian applies green thinking to every aspect of its capital programme. The strategic pipeline will make use of the latest technology, some never used before in the UK, each one designed to reduce the carbon footprint and any environmental impact associated with the scheme delivery.
The Grantham to Bexwell pipeline has been specifically designed to bypass sensitive ecological sites where environmental surveys have found protected species like badgers, water voles, bats and Great Crested Newts.
The entire pipeline has also been designed to have the lowest carbon footprint possible in line with Anglian’s pledge to reach net zero carbon by 2030.
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