Major £4.7m scheme under way to relocate pipelines in Lowestoft
- Credit: Mick Howes
Work is under way as part of a major £4.7m scheme to move a sewer pipe that is at risk from an eroding coastline.
Anglian Water has started preparatory work ahead of laying three new sewer pipes as the existing pipelines that run through Gunton Warren Nature Reserve are at risk from a rapidly eroding coastline.
With the works in north Lowestoft having started recently, the popular north beach car park has been closed with construction due to begin in the coming weeks, which is expected to take 10-12 months.
With Anglian Water needing to move its assets located there, to ensure people can continue to use their washing and toilet facilities in the future, three "critical sewer pipes" run through the nature reserve - but these are at risk due to erosion.
One of the pipes carries all of Lowestoft’s wastewater to the Water Recycling Centre (WRC) to be treated.
A second pipe carries the cleaned water away from the WRC to the outfall in the sea, safely returning it to the environment.
The scheme will move these pipes further inland to protect the vital infrastructure.
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An Anglian Water spokesman said: "Work began on January 4, with expert ecologists on site to ensure there are no species found in the working area.
"We expect this to take around three weeks, following this the main work will start to divert the pipework which is expected to take 10-12 months."
After undergrowth along the new pipeline route was cleared late last year, the Anglian Water spokesman added: "We now need to remove some trees to enable the installation of the new pipework.
"We will be removing a corridor of trees along the pipeline route, however we have worked closely with ecologists, arboriculturists and the Suffolk Wildlife Trust to ensure that this work has minimal impact on the environment and ecology found in the reserve.
"This includes a five-year plan to reinstate the area following completion of our work, which will result in a biodiversity net gain of 10 per cent - enhancing the habitat to create a more flourishing space than it was before.
"Once we have relocated our vital infrastructure, we will replant 20 large tree species, along with about 300 smaller tree and scrub species suitable for sandy soils.
"This mix will offer better structural diversity and to create a more ecologically valuable woodland."
Car park closure
With Anglian Water using the Links Road car park for its works compound, and with construction lasting around 44 weeks, it means during this time the use of Links Road will be restricted and the Links Road car park will be out of use.
The Anglian Water spokesman said: "We have three complex connections to complete in the car park, which will require a large working area.
"We also need space to store our materials and new pipes.
"Our temporary site compound has been erected here, to ensure our team have the facilities needed to complete the work.
"From January 4 for the duration of this project, the North Beach car park will be closed off to the public to ensure we can carry out our work while protecting the public and our team."