Friday, July 03, 2009

New pumps to protect the Fens

This picture shows the incredible size of the biggest pumping station ever built in Britain - that's a skip in the bottom left of the image.

It's being built on the Middle Level Drain at St Germans, near King's Lynn, to protect half the Fens from rising sea levels and increasingly-frequent storm surges.

When it becomes operational next February, it will be able to shift 1000 tonnes of water a minute.

The Middle Level Drain is fed by a system of drains stretching miles inland, including the Sixteen Foot, Forty Foot, Old Nene and Popham's Eau.

It protects tens of thousands of homes and thousands of hectares of low-lying farmland, much of it below sea level, from flooding.

When the drainers reclaimed the Fens, they created mile upon mile of waterways which centuries later have become a Mecca for pike anglers.

But they didn't realise the peaty soil would shrink as it dried out. And parts of the area are now 20ft below mean high tide levels.