Homes and businesses in west Cumbria rely on local, naturally occurring water sources such as Ennerdale Lake.

These sources provide a habitat for protected wildlife. We need to reduce the amount of water we take from them, and ultimately, cease abstraction entirely.

We are currently developing plans for a new pipeline, which will bring water into the area from further afield, easing the pressure on local sources.

This significant project is generating considerable local interest, and it is vital that stakeholders are given the opportunity to share their opinions, and help influence the plans.

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To ensure that all stakeholders, including those groups who do not routinely engage with us, have the opportunity to share their input, we have developed an open consultation process. This includes consultation and public exhibitions in towns and rural communities; a presence at county and agricultural shows to reach the farming community and engagement via our website and social media.

We are also exploring opportunities for closer partnership working. For example, we are looking at the process of establishing a Planning Performance Agreement with the Lake District National Park, Allerdale Borough Council, Copeland Council, Cumbria County Council, Natural England and the Environment Agency.  Its purpose would be to help delivery of the project through closer collaborative which could include, for example, specialist working groups with a focus on key aspects of the project, such as environmental impact.

This partnership approach will also be used to engage with stakeholders who have an interest in specific, technical issues to do with the project. For example farmers, landowners and the National Farmers Union are particularly concerned with land reinstatement following the work.

The feedback we get from our engagement activities will be used to ensure we make the right decisions for the environment and the people of Cumbria.

You can find more information on the project, and our on-going consultation exercise here.

If you would like to send us a comment about this report, please email our Head of Sustainability, Chris Matthews