New pipeline will bring water to Suffolk and Essex

Pipe laying by Anglian Water

Anglian Water has started to lay the pipeline in Lincolnshire. - Credit: Anglian Water

Work on the new 500km pipeline that is being built to carry water from wetter parts of north Lincolnshire to drier areas in Suffolk and Essex is set to step up a gear over the next few months as new planning applications for the scheme are submitted.

Last month Anglian Water formally submitted plans for the 70km section of the pipe from Bexwell, near Downham Market in west Norfolk, to Bury St Edmunds.

It is now about to start consultations before putting in a planning application for the 90km section between Grantham in Lincolnshire to Bexwell via Peterborough.

AW pipeline map

The pipeline with carry water from north Lincolnshire to the Suffolk/Essex border. - Credit: Anglian Water

And plans for the section from Bury St Edmunds to Ipswich and Colchester are expected to be published within the next year before there is a consultation process and a plans are formally submitted to local planning authorities.

Work on the £500m project started in the summer in north Linconshire with the first sections of the pipeline being laid. The whole project is due to be completed by the end of 2025.

The plans for the Bexwell to Bury section were submitted to West Suffolk, East Cambridgeshire and West Norfolk councils last month and will be discussed by each of them over the next few months.


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The pipeline will be buried and most of the route restored to its previous appearance after the work is complete - but there will be some pumping stations and access points created during the programme. 

The mammoth project is part of AW's Resources Management Plan, which looks forward 25 years ahead. Without taking this action, the company says the East of England would face a water deficit of 30 million litres a day by 2025. 

AW Pipeline

Pipelines are already being laid in Lincolnshire. - Credit: Tim George

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AW's James Crompton said: “The strategic pipeline is vital in addressing the predicted future imbalance where demand for water greatly outstrips the available resources in the east of England.

"It is the most fundamental challenge Anglian Water faces in its region, due to the combined impact of a rapidly growing population, climate change and being located in the most water-scarce part of the UK.

“With 175,000 new homes to be built in the next five 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.”

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