CENTRAL Lakes farmers are being warned they could be adversely affected by plans for a 100-kilometre water main linking Thirlmere and West Cumbria.
The six-year project, which involves the construction of water treatment works, a pumping station and underground reservoirs, could lead to many acres of farmland being disrupted, according to rural land expert Matthew Bell.
Mr Bell, of H&H Land and Property, said: “To complete this scheme, United Utilities will need to build their infrastructure across farmland.
“Before entering into discussions with them landowners should take professional support at an early stage to prevent problems at a later stage.”
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As yet the plans of the route the works will take have not been finalised. However, Mr Bell urged farmers to be prepared.
He said: “If the route touches your land, you need to take advice as soon as possible, as this scheme will impact both in the immediate future and the longer term.
“Although the actual route is not finalised, United Utilities has already started work which involves obtaining information, called Land Referencing.
“Some landowners on the proposed route have already received correspondence - those who haven’t will receive their correspondence soon.
“After the initial access for trial investigations and planning permission is granted, United Utlities will then need access to install the pipeline and pumping stations itself.”
Mr Bell said affected farmers should ask:
* How long will the scheme take?
* Will day-to-day farming be affected, and if so, how?
* Once the utilities work is finished, who is responsible for carrying out reinstatement works, and to what specification these will be done?
Mr Bell said United Utilities will write to each farmer or landowner to confirm ownership, or occupation in some cases, of areas of land. Following this, they will then need to take access to the land to undertake non-intrusive surveys.
“This really is a huge project, which will take years to complete.
“So the large number of landowners it will affect must ensure that they are not disadvantaged in any way.”