Reservoirs part of farmers’ toolkit says NFU as planners set to approve Fenland scheme

THE National Farmers Union has welcomed proposals for two major reservoirs for the Fens with a combined capacity of 450,000 cubic metres.

“A reservoir is now an essential part of the farmer’s toolkit for sourcing water,” an NUF official has told Cambridgeshire County Council.

The council’s development control committee is set to approve the reservoir proposals on Thursday for Lyons Farm, Wimblington.

“Water is an essential input for the crops grown at Lyons Farm, not only for plant viability but to achieve best quality of vegetables demanded by consumers,” said the NFU official.

Recent droughts and the long term threat of climate change only heightened concerns about the reliability of future water supplies, said the official. Building two reservoirs was a “sustainable solution to a potential problem because it seeks to utilise abundant winter rainfall and store it for use in summer when flows might be low.”

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Consent for the reservoirs to be built by Nicholas Farms on a 32 acre site also include permission for the extraction of 685,000 tonnes of sand and gravel over a 40 month period.

The sand and gravel deposits will be taken by lorries to Witcham Meadlands Quarry at Mepal.

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The county council heard from Lafarge Aggregates who claimed the land is not in an area designated for mineral working.

“There are already sufficient reserves of mineral with planning permission to meet the needs of the construction industry,” the company told council planners. “There is no over riding mineral need for the development.”

However Mark North, development control officer, said that “on balance it is concluded that the implementation of the Lyons Farm proposal may have a minimal adverse effect on the implementation of the mineral spatial strategy for a short period of time.”

Any conflicts with existing policies are considered to be “of insufficient weight to warrant refusal of planning permission.”

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