Anglian protects eels with £8m WINEP investment

Anglian has set out plans to invest £8 million to help restore European eel populations across its region as part of its Water Industry National Environment Programme (WINEP).

The company will add eel screens on rivers in its region with the first being at an abstraction inlet on the River Welland.

The European eel is critically endangered after suffering a 95% decline over the past 25 years. The eels spend most of their lives in rivers across Europe before migrating to the Sargasso Sea – a region of the Atlantic Ocean – to spawn and then die. The eggs are thought to be carried back across the ocean on the Gulf Stream, hatching into larvae and then developing into small transparent glass eels by the time they reach Europe. As they enter freshwater to begin their journey upstream, they gain pigment and darken into elvers.

Structures such as weirs, locks and machinery on rivers can prevent the eels from completing their migration cycle in order to reproduce. The meshed screens installed by Anglian will stop the eels and other organisms from getting into the river’s abstraction pipe intake.

Martin Bowes, water resources environment manager at Anglian said, “We take our responsibility to protect the environment extremely seriously. We even changed the rules that govern how we make decisions as a business meaning that everything we do needs to consider how we can protect the wider environment.”

The company is spending £800 million between 2020 and 2025 to protect the environment and improve river water quality.

This week Anglian reached the halfway marker in its 24km strategic pipeline project connecting Lincoln to Essex. Engineers completed the section that reaches to Ancaster, which in turn will require hundreds of kilometres of interconnecting pipelines that Anglian designed to relieve water scarcity issues in the most eastern part of its region. The east of England is one of the driest parts of the UK, with an estimated deficit of 30 million litres of water expected by 2025.