At the meeting on 18th January 2024, the Town Council unanimously agreed to adopt the following position as the best way to safeguard the future of Lake Windermere.
Windermere & Bowness Town Council fully support any project or initiative that will stop all sewage discharges into Lake Windermere. In particular, we welcome the “Lake Annecy Solution” proposed by United Utilities in their email to customers on 30 November 2023, and urge all relevant parties to progress this project speedily.
The document describing the Lake Annecy solution is available on our website here (see pages 5&6): action_plan_for_windermere_-_united_utilities.pdf
We know that the quality of the water in Lake Windermere is of huge importance to our residents as shown by the questions at our Annual Parish Meeting last April. Since then, the Town Council has set up an advisory group to lead their work on the matter and has been working with a network of other organisations to prioritise the health of the lake.
Feasibility Review Summary:
Between July and December 2023, a team of 15 engineers, from multiple disciplines, conducted a high-level feasibility assessment to understand how all discharges within the Windermere catchment could be diverted and taken to a notional treatment facility at Grange Over Sands. The review has accounted for known factors, such as topography and areas of ecological importance - to develop a detailed proposal for a scheme of this magnitude would require further detailed investigation, however the assessment undertaken to date has demonstrated what a theoretical view could entail, summarised as follows:
- In total, 247 miles of new network would be required throughout the catchment to remove all discharges, this consists of:
- A 42 mile long ‘ring main’ style network, linked around Windermere from Grasmere to Newby Bridge – then flowing to Grange Over Sands, with a theorised view that treated flows will be returned to the environment in Morecambe Bay, via a long-sea outfall pipe. This section of network would look to intercept the main public network and significant foul water systems.
- Using a case study from the village of Rydal, estimates have been applied across the catchment to understand the potential scale of infrastructure to connect individual septic tanks to the new network. This study estimated that a further 205 miles of network would be required to provide connections to individual properties.
- The proposed route has been considered with several principles including minimising the total sewer length, minimising impact on communities, businesses and tourism, and avoiding areas of environmental, ecological and archaeological importance.
- Estimates for the scheme have been produced using methodologies aligned with guidance and recommendations of the Infrastructure Projects Authority (IPA) and Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering (ACCE). Given the scale of the proposed solution and comparative timescales to complete the review, the solution developed can only be considered conceptual and therefore subject to very high estimating tolerances, i.e. an ‘order of magnitude’ estimate. To remove all discharges from the catchment has been estimated between £3.5bn and £6.4bn.