Pipeline at risk from eroding coastline to be relocated in Lowestoft

Gunton Warren Nature Reserve

The Gunton Warren Nature Reserve in Lowestoft. - Credit: James Bass

Work is set to start in north Lowestoft in the coming weeks to move a sewer pipe that is at risk from an eroding coastline.

Anglian Water will begin work to lay three new sewer pipes as the existing pipelines that run through Gunton Warren Nature Reserve are being put at risk by a rapidly eroding coastline.

It means Anglian Water "urgently" needs to move assets located there, to ensure residents can continue to use their washing and toilet facilities in the future.

With there being "three critical sewer pipes" that runs through the nature reserve, 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.

The shingle and sand beach at the Gunton Warren Nature Reserve in Lowestoft. 

The shingle and sand beach at the Gunton Warren Nature Reserve in Lowestoft. - Credit: James Bass

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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, and once relocated the town’s sewer network will be fit for the future.

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Andy Barnes, project manager for Anglian Water, said: “If we didn’t do this work, we expect that the pipes would be lost to coastal erosion within two or three years, and a bad winter in 2022/23 could accelerate this even sooner.

"If these pipes were exposed, not only would this put our customers at risk, but could also result in spilling sewage into the North Sea.

"Our customers and the environment are equally important to us, which is why we need to act now.”

The water company has been working closely with East Suffolk Council, Suffolk Wildlife Trust (SWT) and other stakeholders to plan the best route for the new pipeline.

Following in-depth investigations including key surveys, these pipelines will be relocated through Gunton Warren Nature Reserve due to their size.

Construction work is planned to begin in January and will be completed by October next year.

However, in agreement with Suffolk Wildlife Trust, work to clear an area for the new pipeline route through the reserve will take place this October to reduce any impact on established flora and fauna and the habits of animals who will be looking to hibernate.

Mr Barnes said: “We have been working closely with ecologists, arboriculturists and the SWT 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 and improve the area following completion of our work."

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