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2022 / 2023 Edition

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Lafarge go green for flood solution

LAFARGE have installed a Poldaw windpump at Finningley, a former sand and gravel excavation site in Nottinghamshire now returned to agricultural land. The pump harnesses the power of the wind to empty a lake prone to flooding and expansion during excessively wet periods. As a result, valuable arable land remains available for use by the landowning farmer.

Dave McCormack, site manager for Finningley and Rampton, explained: ‘When we had the major floods back in 2008 we realized the excavated lake was not draining as we expected. It kept getting bigger and bigger without draining away, which meant it was taking up farmland and backing up our drainage pipes.

‘We needed a solution which would be effective but also practicable, low maintenance and low cost in the long term, as eventually we will be handing responsibility for the land back to the farmer.’

Traditional pumping systems are energy hungry, accounting for nearly 20% of global and 32% of UK electrical energy demand. Concerned about excessive energy usage and the consequent carbon emissions, Lafarge restoration manager David Park investigated a more environmentally friendly option.

‘The wind pump seemed the obvious choice. Its advantages were that as well as emitting no greenhouse gases, it was extremely low maintenance and the running costs were minimal,’ he said. ‘Research showed the area had very few days without wind so it was clear the windpump would be in action almost continuously.’

Now installed, following a lengthy planning process, the 11m high unit works on a float system, pumping water from the lake into new drainage dykes when the level is excessive and keeping water circulating when levels are acceptable.

‘Overall, it is a great sustainable solution which the farmer is really happy with and which does the job without impacting on the environment,’ said Mr Park.

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