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Revealed: Anglian Water plans for billion pound South Lincolnshire reservoir near Spalding

April 3, 2018 4:03 PM
By Adam Brookes

South Lincolnshire Reservoir ()

The approximate location of the proposed new reservoir south-west of Spalding marked by the blue circle and the area it will supply shaded red. Not to scale. Contains OS data © Crown Copyright 2018.

Water company Anglian Water are working on plans for a new large reservoir near Spalding.

The proposed South Lincolnshire Reservoir would have a capacity of around 50,000 million litres. That's about 20,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

For comparison, Anglian Water's Rutland Water reservoir has a capacity of around 120,000 million litres and Grafham Water near Huntington is around 60,000 million litres.

The company produces a Water Resources Management Plan to identify how future water demand will be met. In their draft 2019 Water Resources Management Plan currently out for consultation, they indicate that they will be seeking planning permission for the new reservoir in the next few years. This may be selected to be built in their 2024 Water Resources Management Plan.

It is however also suggested that this may be required later even if not selected at that time so any planning work will not be wasted.

The current plans are for it to be located south-west of Spalding, somewhere in the area between Tongue End and Deeping St Nicholas.

It would be formed by building large embankments to enclose an area. Perhaps similar to the 11,000 million litres Covenham Reservoir between Grimsby and Louth though much larger. The area of land taken up by the new reservoir will also depend upon the height of the embankments.

Construction of the South Lincolnshire Reservoir could start as early as 2025.

The current estimates are that this project could cost £625m or £985m depending on the work required to supply it with water.

The water will supply the Ruthamford North water resources zone which includes Corby, Kettering, Peterborough, and Northampton. This will require a new pipeline south from the new reservoir towards Peterborough, passing close to Deeping.

Another new pipeline will be required to supply the reservoir with water from the River Witham near Boston.

Now water is clearly a resource we have to share and where it is needed is often far from where it is available so I don't have a problem with the potential for our area to host a reservoir which won't actually supply us with water. We obviously benefit from a great deal of infrastructure that others have to live with.

However, it will still be vital for Anglian Water to clearly demonstrate the need for this reservoir, that this would be the most suitable location, and mostly importantly, that it will be safe. There would be a significant loss of agricultural land, impact on the landscape, and disruption during construction.

Given the scale of this development this would be a "Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project" and so not decided by the normal planning application process. Instead, after consultation with the public and other stakeholders, it will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate who will make a recommendation to the relevant Secretary of State to then issue a decision.

At this stage much of this will be subject to change but hopefully we will start hearing more details from Anglian Water soon so we can more fully assess this plan.


Habitats Regulations Assessment - Task 1: Screening