Mini flotilla hard at work off Fylde coast

United Utilities is preparing to install a 3km pipe
United Utilities is preparing to install a 3km pipe
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Typical... you wait all day for one ship, then three turn up at once.

These vessels, working close to the shore, have been turning heads on the sea front in Cleveleys.

And while they might not be attracting the kind of crowds the Riverdance ferry did when she ran aground nearly a decade ago, the ships have been quite a talking point.

The reason for these ships’ presence so close to the sand is far less dramatic.

The mini-flotilla is busy digging trenches in the sea bed – the latest step in a major scheme to prevent flooding to thousands of homes.

Every day tonnes of sand is being scooped from the sea bed.

Eventually a new outfall pipe will be layed off

Anchorshole, linked to a giant storm water tank currently being built.

The company explained just what the Anchorsholme Armada is doing, putting the scale of the project into context.

When completed the pipe is likely to be the largest of its kind in the UK and a vital tool in boosting the quality of Fylde coast waters.

A United Utilities spokesman said: “The ships you can see working off the coast, close to Anchorsholme Park, are dredging and preparing a trench in the sea bed for the new 3.7km outfall pipe we’re planning to install to discharge excess screened storm water out to sea.

“We believe that it’s the longest 2.5m diameter pipe ever installed in the UK and is part of our Anchorsholme project to improve overall bathing water quality across the Fylde coast.”

Work is progressing on the multi-million pound scheme, which is designed to protect more than 7,000 homes from flooding.

It won’t be until 2020 that the work is completed, returning Anchorsholme Park to public use.

But United Utilities says it has reached a significant milestone.

A spokesman said: “We’ve completed the first phase of our scheme to build a huge underground storage tank that can hold the equivalent of 12 million sandcastle buckets, or five Olympic-sized swimming pools, of storm water!

“During times of heavy rain, these tanks will stop untreated storm water going into bathing waters along the coast by storing the excess water until we can put it back into the network and treat it.

“We are now building a new storm water pumping station, to replace the existing station on the promenade, and laying the new extended outfall pipe.”

In addition to preventing flooding the tanks at Anchorsholme will stop 12,000 square metres of untreated storm water going into bathing waters along the coast by storing it until it can be put back into the network and treated.