Anglian Water is preparing to consult on plans for two major new reservoirs, one in Lincolnshire and one in the Fens in partnership with Cambridge Water.
It says the reservoirs are needed to secure a reliable supply of water for the future. They will help to protect the region from future climate change events, including hotter summers and potential future droughts.
Anglian Water and its agents, Fisher German, will be offering one-to-one meetings with farmers, landowners and residents likely to be affected by the schemes before its preferred sites are publicly announced in the autumn.
For more information, visit: Anglian Water | Anglian Water drives forward plans for two new reservoirs to secure future water demand
NFU position on the reservoir schemes
NFU Deputy President Tom Bradshaw said: “The NFU fully supports the need to expand strategic water supply infrastructure in the Anglian Water region as a critical response to climate change and population growth. The past few months have demonstrated the pressure our water resources are facing.
“It is critical that the importance of water to build resilience in our domestic food production systems is recognised and the NFU believes that farming businesses must be able to benefit from the additional water resources that new reservoirs will provide.
“However, such major reservoir schemes can have significant adverse impacts on farm businesses and the people involved. It’s vital that the design and implementation during construction must be carried out in a way that minimises the impact on land ownership and farming operations.
“The development process must protect the needs of farmers, landowners and tenants to ensure they are actively involved in decision-making at all stages.
“We will be working to support any members affected by these schemes and to ensure that agricultural water needs are recognised as an explicit part of future resource use plans.”
The NFU has been actively involved in promoting a more integrated approach to water management in both South Lincolnshire and the Fens for many years. This includes working to ensure increased water availability for farmers in the Anglian Water region is one of the benefits of any reservoir scheme.
We have not sought to promote one site over another as we recognise all sites will impact on members.
However, we have worked with other stakeholders with the aim of ensuring the site criteria used by Anglian Water reflects the needs of landowners and farming businesses at the potential locations and the wider area.
We have also continued to highlight the issues and impacts that such large infrastructure projects can have on farmland, as set out in our policy position published in 2021.
Read: NFU position statement on reservoirs
What happens next?
Anglian Water will be launching a non-statutory consultation to gauge public opinion on the preferred sites, likely to run for the rest of 2022.
It will seek views from landowners, regional stakeholders such as the local authorities, and specialist groups responsible for areas such as the environment, landscape, wildlife, heritage, local economy, and other important factors. A statutory consultation is due to follow in 2023.
Members who are affected by either scheme should, in the first instance, contact NFU CallFirst on 0370 845 8458