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Waterworks worries

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By Christie Breen
Front
Waterworks worries

RESIDENTS in Sandyford and Boreland are ‘outraged’ at plans for a huge new water treatment facility, which they say will destroy large swathes of the local area.

The proposal being put forward by Scottish Water is for a treatment plant near the Black Esk reservoir to replace the current Sandyford site on the B723.

The new one would be 130 metres long, 55 metres wide, and 25 metres tall and would sit on a hill overlooking the Dryfe Valley.

At a community meeting about the project at Eskdalemuir Community Hub last month, the estimated cost was revealed to be up to £150 million.

Scottish Water yesterday confirmed that plans for the site have not been finalised, and no planning or pre-planning application has been lodged with Dumfries and Galloway Council.

SITE PLANS. . . a 3D model of the new waterworks

However, one resident has reported seeing site investigations and clearances taking place. Ken Ruthven this week said: “Just for the site investigation work they are currently deforesting nearly three hectares of woodland.”

Many householders locally are perplexed by the need for a new facility as they feel the current supply is not a health risk and is of exceptional quality.

Others living in the area are concerned about the destruction of habitats and scenery if the plans were to come to fruition.

John Woodhouse is one of those and he said: “Set on a hill top, the treatment works’ looming presence threatens to forever alter the natural beauty of this once serene community.

“Construction of the water treatment works is expected to result in the destruction of vital habitats for local wildlife, putting numerous species at risk and potentially leading to a significant decline in biodiversity.

“The original works are nestled in the woodland and hidden from view and despite previous investments of millions of pounds, they are to be mothballed at the switch on of the new colossus.”

In response to concerns, a spokesperson for Scottish Water said: “Scottish Water is currently in the process of developing plans for a new water treatment works at Boreland which supplies around 40,000 customers in Lockerbie, Annan, Dumfries and the surrounding area.

“The existing works has come to the end of its serviceable life and is not suitable for upgrading.

“Our initial designs and layouts are currently being revised and we expect the final arrangement to be smaller. We are also looking at alternative entrances to the site that comply with the current road standards and meet the requirements of the local residents and Scottish Water.

“To support biodiversity, nearly 3200 broadleaved trees will be planted at Ettrick by the end of this month and two further hectares of commercial woodland will be replanted at Black Esk within the next two years.

“This project represents a major investment in the area and will ensure customers continue to receive a high quality water supply long into the future.”

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