St German’s pumping station, near King’s Lynn, officially opened

Norfolk's biggest pumping station, which protects thousands of homes and business below sea level from flooding, was officially opened today.

The �38m development at St German's, near King's Lynn, safeguards property worth �3.6bn. Its six pumps can shift up to 100 tonnes of water a second, protecting an area stretching dozens of miles inland as far as Peterborough.

It took engineers three years to build the station and Lord James Russell, brother of the Duke of Bedford, officially opened the station at a ceremony today and unveiled a plaque.

The Middle Level Commissioners claim around 22,500 homes are being protected by the new plant, which has a glazed front to show off its enormous machinery.

The station can run for 10 days at full pelt without the need of outside help because its tanks have 250,000 litres of diesel stored up.

The pumps can also perform at various speeds which enables engineers to make sure they are running at their the most efficient speed at all times. Engineers can also monitor its performance remotely, to ensure water levels are being kept under control.

The old St Germans pumping station, built more than 75 years ago, has also recently been demolished.

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It was decided to replace the old pumping station after showing signs of deterioration. Its highlight was back in April 1998 when it pumped at full capacity for more than 50 hours straight.

Experts believe the new pumping station will keep the Fens dry for at least as long as its predecessor – despite rising sea levels and East Anglia's increasingly stormy and unpredictable weather.

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