Green light for £19 million investment at Windermere

Investment totalling £19m will be fast-tracked to help reduce storm water spills around England’s most iconic lake.

3rd April 2023

The early funding would see improvements taking place at:

  • Elterwater pumping station
  • Ambleside wastewater treatment works 
  • Hawkshead pumping station
  • Near Sawrey wastewater treatment works

These projects at Windermere are just four of the schemes that the company will make an early start on before 2025.

They form part of a £914m programme of accelerated investment across the North West which has been given the regulatory stamp of approval today, and is subject to consultation with stakeholders until Monday 24 April.

Louise said: “I am thrilled to be able to begin work early on these improvement projects.  This builds on the £45 million investment we completed at Windermere, Ambleside and Grasmere as part of our improvement programme between 2015 and 2020.

“We have been in discussions with the Government and our regulators for some time to prioritise where future investment could be brought forward. The new Environment Act of 2021 sets out that water companies must reduce all storm water spills by 2050 but we’ve challenged ourselves to move smarter and faster because we know how important this issue is to local communities.  

“This aligns with our commitment to the Love Windermere partnership. We care passionately about playing our part in improving water quality in the lake and mitigating against the impacts of climate change.”

Richard Leafe, chief executive of the Lake District National Park Authority said: “This is welcome news for Windermere, the environment and everyone who enjoys this special part of the Lake District. This significant investment will accelerate the work of the Love Windermere partnership by improving the treatment of wastewater. Through this partnership we are tackling all the current challenges, including pollution from septic tanks and land management which, together with this new investment, will bring long term benefits to Windermere and beyond.”

The Windermere projects announced today will increase storage capacity so that during heavy rainfall more of the sewer flows can be treated.  While it will not stop spills completely, as overflows play a critical role in protecting communities from flooding during severe storms, the investment will reduce the number of occasions they need to operate.  

The wider programme of fast-tracked investment covers three main challenge areas:

  • £719 million for reducing storm overflow spills, helping protect water quality at inland waterways across the North West – including Windermere in the Lake District
  • £117 million for habitat improvements in and around the River Eden in Cumbria
  • £78 million to reduce the frequency of storm overflow spills into bathing waters

The accelerated investment is in addition to the £5.9 billion programme United Utilities has already committed to complete in its current business plan between 2020 and 2025.