Work begins on Britain’s largest pumping station

SUE SKINNER Work has started on Britain's largest pumping station, which will protect more than 20,000 homes in the fens from flooding.

SUE SKINNER

Work has started on Britain's largest pumping station, which will protect more than 20,000 homes in the fens from flooding.

The giant £38m complex is being built on the Middle Level Drain at St Germans, near King's Lynn, and is due to become operational in 2010.

The existing pumping station, built in 1934, has six pumps which can shift 70 tonnes of water a second.

But the Middle Level Commissioners say predictions of global warming, rising sea levels and the ageing mechanics of the complex mean its working life is coming to an end.

In April 1998, the station was pushed to its limit after heavy rains inland were followed by high tides and a north-easterly gale.

Most Read

It was forced to run non-stop for 50 hours and if one or more of its pumps had failed, a flood would have occurred with disastrous consequences.

But the new station will have a 40pc increased capacity, giving it the ability to pump 100 tonnes per second.

Construction will now start in earnest on the massive cofferdam needed to protect the site before work on the new station itself, which is downstream of the present plant, can begin.

Representatives from the Middle Level Commissioners will give a presentation on the new pumping station at a meeting of West Norfolk Council's regeneration and environment panel on Wednesday, March 14 (6pm).

Parish representatives and members of the public are welcome and anyone wishing to attend should contact Brenda Moore on 01553 616391 or

e-mail brenda.moore@west-norfolk.gov.uk no later than March 2.