Environment Minister Rebecca Pow visits largest water infrastructure project in a generation at crucial halfway point
03 March 2022
Rebecca Pow, Environment Minister, marks halfway point of Lincoln to Grantham section of Strategic Pipeline Alliance (SPA)
Engineers have now completed first half of 24km pipeline between Lincoln and Ancaster
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
Rebecca Pow, Environment Minister, and Caroline Johnson, MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham, today visited Lincoln to mark an important milestone for the region’s Strategic Pipeline Alliance (SPA): the largest water infrastructure project the UK has seen for a generation.
Minister Pow visited the site as engineers completed the first half of the 24km pipeline between Lincoln and Ancaster. This is just one section of the project which, in total, will create hundreds of kilometres of interconnecting pipelines to address water scarcity across the east of England.
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 – 9 apprentices and 5 on a Kickstarter scheme, three of who have since been offered full-time employment.
SPA will be crucial in addressing the future imbalance of water availability in the region, where an estimated water deficit of 30 million litres a day could be expected by 2025. It 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.
What’s more, 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.
Environment Minister Rebecca Pow 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:
“We are grateful to the Minister for taking the time to meet with us today. 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.”
MP Caroline Johnson for Sleaford and North Hykeham said:
“I was delighted to visit Harmston near Lincoln with Minister Rebecca Pow today to discuss the progress of the Strategic Pipeline Alliance. 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.”