Anglian Water joins forces with Toadwatch to protect under-threat amphibians in Norfolk during major infrastructure project.
Anglian Water staff working on one of the largest infrastructure projects in the UK to secure water supplies for future generations are on toad alert after working with a local conservation group.
The new 12.5km section of pipeline in Norfolk, being installed between Wymondham and Norwich, passes through an important area for toad migration. Anglian, along with the help of Toadwatch, have implemented provisions to protect the under-threat amphibians.
Warning signs have been placed on the construction site to make drivers aware of the animal’s presence alongside an overnight traffic curfew (between 6pm-7am), which will help to protect the toads during their annual night-time migration to ancestorial breeding ponds near Wramplingham Road, north of Wymondham, about 10 miles west of Norwich.
Kate Wagg, part of the Anglian Water team delivering the work, said: “Toad populations have fallen dramatically in recent years. We know that roads pose a serious threat and thousands of toads are killed on the UK’s roads each year.
“This particular site, near Wymondham, is vitally important for toad migration in the area. Many thousands make the journey towards the ponds. We hope our measures will help to give the amphibians the best possible chance of reaching their destination.”
The work to install the new water main is just one part of a much larger project the water company is undertaking to lay hundreds of kilometres of interconnecting pipelines across the east of England to prevent water shortages in the future.
Anglian Water operates in the driest and most environmentally sensitive region of the UK, receiving a third less rainfall than anywhere else, and it is also one of the fastest-growing with around 175,000 new homes to be built by 2025. Without this work, the East of England will face a water deficit of 30 million litres a day by 2025.
Ultimately the scheme will allow water to be moved from areas of surplus in north Lincolnshire to areas of deficit in the south and east of the region, via new and existing pipelines, and will be the biggest water infrastructure project in generations.
James Crompton, Director of the Strategic Pipeline Alliance for Anglian Water, said: “We take our responsibilities to the environment seriously, especially on large infrastructure schemes. It’s important that we not only respect the areas in which we work and protect wildlife but, where possible, enhance it too.”
Toadwatch is a voluntary organisation that aims to play a part in preventing the possible extinction of the species. Their volunteers monitor crossing points and, when required, carry toads across roads in buckets.
John Heaser, from Toadwatch, said: "I was impressed that Anglian Water responded so quickly and brought together so many people for a discussion. I’m happy that the team all understand the national importance of the pond at Wramplingham Road.
“It was reassuring to learn that the major excavations will take place during the autumn – after the 2021 toadlets have left the pond and before the 2022 migration starts."
The new pipeline is due to be completed by the summer of 2022.