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3 September 2018, 16:23 | Updated: 3 September 2018, 16:24
Anglian Water has announced plans for one of the biggest investments the East of England region has ever seen.
Anglian Water's business plan covers the five year period from 2020-2025 and sets out a massive £6.5billion investment programme making it one of the largest investments the region has ever seen.
The plans includes a £653m investment for Norfolk and a £490m investment for Suffolk.
One of the fastest growing regions- and often referred to as the 'bread basket' of the UK due to its key role in food production - the East of England plays an important role in the prosperity of the UK as a whole. On top of this, the region receives only two thirds of the national average rainfall. These things combined make for a significant challenge around managing water resources for the future - and the need for a bigger, more ambitious plan than ever before.
CEO Peter Simpson comments: "This is the most ambitious plan we've put forward yet with stretching goals that will see us push the frontier in many areas, like leakage, resilience and catchment management, and it's the biggest investment we've ever proposed. We provide an essential public service, so it's imperative our business responds to customer challenge. Thousands of customers have helped shape the plan - they told us what matters to them most, we've taken that on board and created a plan which reflects those priorities.
"The 'Beast from the East' and this summer's heat wave are the kind of extreme weather challenges we'll see more of in the future as a result of global climate change. The plan we've proposed, and the millions of pounds of investment within will tackle these challenges head on to ensure that, despite the likelihood of lower levels of rainfall in the future, there are plentiful supplies of safe, quality water for our growing population.
"Importantly, our plans will deliver this with only a very slight increase in bills- less than 1 per cent over the whole five years with average bills at the end of the period the same as at the start. However, we recognise that for some customers even this miniscule increase is a challenge which is why we're planning to help on average 475,000 customers every year with one of the most comprehensive support packages in the industry.
"Our plan proposes to accommodate all of this, and crucially, it will deliver this while protecting the environment, something that we agree with our customers is of paramount importance. We're confident it's the right plan for our customers and our region."
The money will be broken down across East Anglia in the following ways.
" £230million to fit smart meters in more parts of Norfolk and significantly reduce leakage across the county, achieving new, super low levels.
" £92.7million to create a network of new interconnecting pipes that can move water around the region wherever and whenever needed.
" £20million to find and replace lead pipes in Norwich including, as part of a new approach with the Drinking Water Inspectorate, up to the point of entry to customers' homes.
" £6.8million to protect raw water boreholes from agricultural pollution in Hillington and Wighton which are essential sources for drinking water.
" £11million to install a strategic sewer to create capacity for new homes in Western Norwich.
" Around £7million to reduce the risk of flooding in parts of Norfolk. Around half will be spent on sustainable drainage schemes that use nature to slow the flow of rain entering the drains.
" £10million for a new bio-digester at our Whitlingham Sewage Treatment Works. This will convert more sewage into soil fertiliser for farms and generate clean energy too.
" £7.5million to connect rural homes to the sewerage network for the first time in Morley St Botolph, Knapton, Ludham and other parts of the county.
" £800,000 to upgrade water treatment processes and protect against lead at sites in West Bradenham.
" £1.6million to work with farmers to reduce pesticide levels in the county's raw waters.
" More than £1million to address ground water pollution from fertilisers and animal manures.
" £135,000 to prevent phosphate pollution that causes algal growth in rivers, which is harmful to fish and makes water harder to treat for drinking.
" A share of £200,000 to support partnership working with Catchment Based Approach groups in Norfolk to deliver community-led water quality improvement.
" £237million to significantly reduce leakage across the county.
" £68million to create new interconnecting pipes that can move water around the region wherever and whenever needed.
" £4million to protect the raw water borehole from agricultural pollution in Little Saxham which is an essential source for drinking water.
" Around £7million to reduce the risk of flooding in parts of Suffolk. Around half will be spent on sustainable drainage schemes that use nature to slow the flow of rain entering the drains.
" £3million to connect rural homes in Little Bealings and Belstead to the sewerage network for the first time.
" £1.3million to upgrade water treatment processes and protect against lead at sites in Barham Cross, Beck Row, Ixworth and Two Mile Bottom.
" £2.5million to work with farmers to reduce pesticide levels in the county's raw waters
" £600,000 to address ground water pollution from fertilisers and animal manures
" £46,000 to prevent phosphate pollution that causes algal growth in rivers, which is harmful to fish and makes water harder to treat for drinking.
" A share of £200,000 to support partnership working with Catchment Based Approach groups in Suffolk to deliver community-led water quality improvement.
Peter continues: "We're really confident our plan reflects what customers care about most and their guidance was clear: they expect us to act and invest now to improve the resilience of the region, not wait until costs may need to be higher to meet the challenge. It's the right plan for our customers, and the right plan for the region both for today and for tomorrow."