The water company install new fencing to guide local bat population during construction of new water pipeline.
Anglian Water staff working on one of the largest infrastructure projects in the UK to secure water supplies for future generations have installed new equipment to support the ‘commuter routes’ of local Lincolnshire bats.
The latest section of pipeline, being installed around Navenby and Ancaster, a few miles south of Lincoln, meant the removal of a small number of hedgerows which are used by bats for navigation. To combat this, Anglian have installed specialised camouflaged fences in their place to ensure the small mammals don’t lose their way.
Andrew Weston, part of Anglian Water’s Ecological Team delivering the work, said: “We know that hedges are hugely important for bats. Hedgerows act as commuting corridors that link foraging areas. They rely on them to find their way when flying from their roosting sites to find food. Bats in the UK only eat insects. Even the smallest bat species, the common pipistrelle and soprano pipistrelle, can chomp their way through up to 3,000 insects such as midges in one evening.
Andrew continued: “Any hedgerows that need to be removed in areas where we know bats are active are being replaced by camouflage netting covered in artificial leaves, allowing the bats to continue to fly freely, despite the work on the ground.”
“Bats use echolocation to build a picture of their surrounding environment and use landmarks such as hedgerows to navigate. Once we’ve completed our work, almost all of the hedgerow we’ve removed will be replaced with a high-quality hedgerow of a similar type.”
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.”