The Minister joined Dr Caroline Johnson, MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham, at Harmston for the visit marking an important milestone for the region’s Strategic Pipeline Alliance (SPA) - the halfway point in the 24km Lincoln to Ancaster section.
This is just one section of the project which, in total, will create hundreds of kilometres of interconnecting pipelines stretching almost twice as long as the M6. The entire project from Lincolnshire to Essex will address the 30 million litre a day water shortage facing the East of England by 2025.
During the visit, Minister Pow spoke to the engineers onsite and also heard from beneficiaries of the Government’s Kickstart scheme, which delivers funding and employment for 16-24-year-olds who are currently in receipt of Universal Credit.
So far, Anglian Water has provided opportunities for 14 young people across this infrastructure project – nine apprentices and five on a Kickstarter scheme, three have since been offered full-time employment.
The scheme forms part of Anglian Water’s Water Resources Management Plan, which looks 25 years ahead to make the East resilient to drought.
SPA will create the ability to move water in stages from wetter parts of North Lincolnshire to the south and east of the region. The new pipeline will also strengthen local resilience as the population continues to grow, by reducing the number of homes and businesses which rely on a single water source.
The entire pipeline has also been designed to have the lowest carbon footprint possible in line with Anglian Water’s pledge to reach net zero carbon by 2030.
Sections of the pipeline have also been specifically designed to bypass sensitive ecological sites where environmental surveys have found protected species like badgers, water voles, bats and Great Crested Newts.
Touring several environmental projects in the region, the minister said: “The Strategic Pipeline Alliance project highlights the important role of innovation in enhancing our national water infrastructure which is progressing well and I was very pleased to have a detailed visit to discuss it. This project will help rebalance the availability of water across the region and benefit the local community while also crucially protecting our precious natural environment.”
Strategic Pipeline Alliance Director for Anglian Water, James Crompton said: “The Strategic Pipeline Alliance will be 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, and we are delighted to have the opportunity to discuss with the Minister our vision for future water sustainability across the region.
“Our commitment to protecting the environment is as vital as securing customer supplies. This project will help meet our targets to reduce the amount of water we take from the environment by 84 million litres a day, but our infrastructure needs to be sustainable too.
“Climate change isn’t just a risk in terms of the challenges it poses us. It is also an opportunity to challenge established practice and to do things differently and more efficiently, for wider gain. This scheme is an excellent example of how we’re doing both for the long-term benefit of our region.”
Sleaford MP Dr Johnson added: “I welcome that the installation of the pipeline will improve water availability throughout Lincolnshire and the wider East of England, and I enjoyed learning how this important scheme is also protecting our natural surroundings.”