Anglian Water announces new multi-million pound pumping station near King’s Lynn to ease tanker traffic
Campaigners have welcomed proposals for a multi-million pound sewage pumping station near King's Lynn, which could end years of heavy traffic in neighbouring villages.
Anglian Water (AW) has announced plans to build a new 'reception centre' near the A17 so sludge can be pumped underground directly to its �27m waste water plant in Clenchwarton, ruling out the option of using barges to transport it.
The company is looking at two potential sites off Clenchwarton Road in West Lynn and hopes to submit a planning application by the end of the month with construction starting in August.
To make the development greener, Anglian Water is also exploring the idea of using renewable energy – including wind and solar power – to run the pumping station.
If the project goes ahead, a pipecourse stretching more than two miles will be laid, reducing the number of large tanker lorries using narrow local roads by about two thirds.
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The existing plant processes sludge – a by-product from sewage plants – turning it into biogas and fertiliser and receives up to 60 lorry loads a day.
With the support of West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham, residents in Clockcase Lane and beyond began campaigning for a relief road so tankers would bypass their homes about 15 years ago.
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Householders complained of almost constant disruption, with lorries going past their properties day and night, 365 days a year.
Residents' representative John Simpson, of Jubilee Bank Road, said: 'It's been a very long time now but this is a fantastic result.
'Traffic can't be eliminated completely but this will give Clockcase Lane back to the dog walkers, horse riders and cyclists who used to use it.'
AW is expecting the pumping station to take about eight months to build and hopes construction will be completed by April next year.
Spokesman Ciaran Nelson said: 'This will remove a significant proportion of the heavy goods traffic that currently uses the last few miles of road leading to the treatment works.
'Traffic will be lighter on Clockcase Lane, Ferry Road, Clenchwarton Road and the main road leading through West Lynn. When fully operational, this option will reduce HGV movements along these roads by about two thirds.
'Residents should be aware that there will still be some HGVs using Clockcase Lane, but this will be limited to routine deliveries for the normal day-to-day operational activities of the site.
'It would never be possible to reduce the level of traffic to zero.'
Anglian Water has spent 18 months consulting on different options to improve access to the treatment plant, including the construction of a relief road in West Lynn.
In the summer, the company said priority was being given to exploring the use of barges to transport the sludge on the Rivers Ouse from places like Ely, Boston, Tydd and possibly even further afield.
Mr Nelson said while using the waterways remained 'very appealing' in principle, it had been ruled out because of the 'very high set up costs' and the challenges presented by the tidal nature and depth of the river, along with the weather.
'Of the options we considered, the pumping station will have the least impact on the local environment and the surrounding landscape once the pipeline has been constructed. It is also likely to be the fastest solution that we could introduce.
'This isn't the cheapest option for us to pursue, either in terms of initial cost to build or long-term cost to run. It's also not the best method to meet our low carbon targets, given the need to regularly power the pumps on the site.
'To overcome these concerns, we are looking at renewable energy to provide power for the pumping station.'
Anglian Water concluded that constructing a new relief road was not cost-effective and would only 'move the problem' from one community to another, causing disruption during construction.
It is not yet known how much the pumping station will cost to build, but Mr Nelson said it represented a multi-million pound investment.
Homes in Clenchwarton and West Lynn are to receive newsletters outlining the plans over the next couple of days.
Residents can also ask questions by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling Anglian Water customer services on 08457 145145.