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Green light for West Cumbria water scheme

Thirlmere
Thirlmere

A major new pipeline project to supply water to homes and businesses in West Cumbria has been given the green light.

The £300 million scheme was approved by Allerdale Council today (November 15), having been approved earlier in the month by Copeland Council and the Lake District National Park Authority.

The project will see the construction of around 100 kilometres of pipeline, plus associated infrastructure including a new water treatment works, two service reservoirs and a pumping station, to bring water from Thirlmere reservoir to supply homes and businesses.

The scheme is designed to ease pressure on environmentally sensitive local water sources in West Cumbria, and provide  a secure, long-term supply for the area.

The scheme will create up to 400 jobs over the four years of construction.

Approximately 150,000 people in communities such as Whitehaven, Egremont, Ravenglass, Workington, Maryport, Silloth, Cockermouth and Wigton will receive their water via the new pipeline.

United Utilities has been consulting with local communities on options for West Cumbria’s water supply and the route of the new pipeline since 2014. The company is now planning to hold a series of further public exhibitions, before construction work begins next year.

John Hilton, United Utilities’ project director for the pipeline scheme, said: “This scheme will ensure West Cumbria has a secure water supply for the long term, and we are delighted that it has been given the green light.

“The area currently relies on water sources on its doorstep, including Ennerdale Water – a natural lake of significant environmental importance.

“The new scheme will ease the pressure on these sensitive local water sources and provide a more secure supply for homes and businesses for the decades to come.

“This is the culmination of several years of detailed planning and consultation. We’ve worked closely with local communities, businesses and stakeholders to develop a scheme which delivers major long-term benefits for west Cumbria, while seeking to minimise traffic inconvenience and safeguarding the environment during construction.”

Work on the new pipeline is now set to begin in March 2017, with the project due to be in service by March 2022.

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