WINDERMERE and Bowness Town Council gave their 'unanimous' support for any project or initiative stopping all sewage discharges into England's largest lake. 

Sally Parkyn, the clerk for the council, said that they particularly welcomed the 'Lake Annecy solution' proposed by water company United Utilities in an email to customers on November 30. 

Lake Annecy in France saw a huge project in the 1960s-70s to re-route sewage discharges away from the beauty spot, which is a solution campaigners such as Matt Staniek from Save Windermere have called for in the last year. They argue that like Lake Annecy, Windermere has too much of a cultural and environmental significance not to be treated as a different case to other bodies of water. 

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These campaigners argue that even treated sewage discharges should not go into the lake. There is currently a £41m programme of improvement at Elterwater and Hawkshead pumping stations, and Ambleside and Near Sawrey wastewater treatment works. 

To create a sewage-free Windermere, the water company said it would need to build a new 67km pipeline around the perimeter of the lake, a 1.1km tunnel under and across the bed of the lake, a new wastewater treatment works built at Grange and support from local and national government and the regulator. It said it would need a timescale of between 10 to 15 years to complete. 

When a United Utilities spokesperson talked about the issue in November last year, they said that there are dozens of private wastewater treatment plants along the shoreline, 1800 individual septic tanks and agricultural runoff into the lake that would also need to be stopped to create a sewage-free Windermere. 

"The impact on the environment, road network and the local economy would be significant and there is currently no funding mechanism or regulatory framework that would support work on this scale across such a wide range of organisational and individual accountability," they said.

“In the meantime, United Utilities is continuing with our existing plans to improve our impact on the lake - reducing stormwater spills into Windermere and making an early start on a £41m programme that will see improvement work at Elterwater, Hawkshead, Near Sawrey and Ambleside.”