Eighty acre Fenland site proposed for massive new reservoirs capable of holding up to 400,000 cubic metres of water

AN eighty acre site less than five miles from the centre of March has been proposed for two reservoirs capable of holding up to 400,000 cubic metres of water.

David Nicholas, of Nicholas Farms, says the irrigation reservoirs on land at Wimblington Fen will serve one of the driest areas of the UK and in an area prone to the influence of global warming.

His plans- lodged at a cost of �35,000 with Cambridgeshire County Council- also envisage 550,000 to 650,000 tonnes of sand and gravel being extracted from the site.

The proposals at Lyons Farms involve the creation of two reservoirs – the first possibly being available within 18 months.

Mr Nicholas says the reservoirs will irrigate farm land to the west of Manea and are needed because of the continuing thinning of Fenland peat soils which is steadily reducing the capability of the land to retain moisture.

“The drought of 2006 and indeed the high temperatures of June 2010 served to highlight the fragile nature of water resources for agriculture,” he said.

Climate change, too, will only “add to the concerns of future water supplies for agricultural. Central Government advises farmers to be prudent and consider ways to adapt to the impacts of drought.”

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Mr Nicholas said 90 per cent of those who attended a public meeting a year ago about the proposals were concerned about the proposed access onto Boots Road. As a result an alternative has been devised and a follow up consultation with residents had “no significant” concerns.

He added that sand and gravel removed from the site, though not part of the county council’s previous planning, could be considered a “windfall” site.

Mr Nicholas said only 30 acres would be given over to the reservoirs- the remaining land being used infrastructure works.

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