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Anglian Water to invest £120m to plug polluting storm spills

Anglian Water has outlined its plans for tackling storm spills across the East of England, including pumping £120 million into Norfolk.

The water authority said it will start with fast-tracking £50 million of investment direct from shareholders to create a ‘spills taskforce’ across the region, with a further £1 billion to be injected from 2025.

The announcement came after industry body Water UK published a report outlining plans to reduce the impact of storm overflows – where excess water and sewage is released into the environment during heavy rain storms – between now and 2050.

Anglian Water will pump £150m into Norfolk and £50m into Suffolk
Anglian Water will pump £150m into Norfolk and £50m into Suffolk

Emily Timmins, director of water recycling for Anglian Water, said: “We have heard loud and clear from our customers, communities, passionate river groups and our regulators that we need to take action faster to address storm overflows.

“As our climate continues to change, we can expect more extreme weather, and we agree that they [storm overflows] are no longer the correct way of dealing with sewers overloaded by rainfall.

“Our plans are designed to tackle the problem from as many angles as possible, from boots on the ground to creating more capacity in our network to store excess water and treat it, while using natural solutions like wetlands to remove nutrients, protecting rivers across our region.

“We want our customers to know that we are investing in the right solutions which will have the most benefit for the environment now and in the future.”

The news will also see £50 million invested in Suffolk.

The project will tackle spills by delivering schemes which will create more capacity in sewers, with 50 hotspots targeted.

New sustainable drainage systems will be designed to prevent surface water from entering the sewer network in the first place.

Work will also commence to install 30,000 new sewer monitors to spot blocked pipes before they become an issue, helping to make spills far less common.

Every single one of the 1,471 storm overflows across Anglian Water’s network has a detailed improvement plan, which will see spills significantly reduced, with work beginning on them immediately.

The action plan, geared to tackle the highest priority overflows soonest, is based on criteria set by Defra and the Environment Agency, as well as feedback from stakeholders, including rivers trusts and Natural England.

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