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£500,000 project to power Wasdale Head


[A] major engineering project to help secure power supplies to one of England most remote locations will start next week.

The region’s power network operator, Electricity North West, is to install a new cable under Wastwater, England’s deepest lake, to continue powering the remote village of Wasdale Head in Cumbria.

1977 - Cable laying in wastewater to power Wasdale head
1977 – Cable laying in wastewater to power Wasdale head

The original electricity cable was installed under Wastwater in 1977 when Wasdale Head was first connected to the electricity network by Electricity North West’s predecessor, Norweb.

Four years ago a fault on a section of the 2km cable under the lake caused the loss of power to 11 customers. Power was restored within hours by generator but due to the complicated nature of the job and the sensitive environment in the area, the replacement of 1.2km section of faulty cable took £750,000 and 10 months to complete.

Electricity North West is now investing £584,000 in a planned programme of maintenance to further secure power supplies to the area, replacing 3.5km of the network feeding the area.

New cable to replace the faulty cable in 2012
New cable to replace the faulty cable in 2012

Jane Fleetwood, operations manager for Electricity North West, who was involved in the job in 2012 said: “This was a really tough job back in 2012 due to the incredibly remote location and sensitive area. The lake itself is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest as is a large area of the scree slopes alongside.

“The section of cable that we relaid in the lakebed in 2012 has had no problems whatsoever, but the time is now right to proactively replace other sections of cable, to help prevent faults in future. The local community were very patient while we worked out the best solution for the area then and we’ll be working closely with them too to minimise disruption during the work to help keep the lights on for years to come.”

The two-phased project will replace 560m of cable under the lakeshore road, starting on the 18th July, and 3km of cable under Wastwater, starting in October.

During the works all of the local businesses will remain open as normal. Traffic maybe stopped briefly to allow engineers to safely unload equipment.

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