asked Her Majesty's Government:What was the total cost to public funds, and the date of completion, of the River Deben augmentation borehole at Earl Soham in Suffolk; what volume of water was abstracted from it during its first six months of operation; and what estimate can be made of the fall in the water table to date which has resulted from its operation. [HL3308]
The cost to public funds to date of the Earl Soham development has been £120,000 and the abstraction licence, effectively the date of completion, was authorised in February 1998. Two hundred and sixty thousand cubic metres of water were abstracted from the borehole in the first six months of operation. The borehole has been operated intermittently so far and therefore, at this stage, it is difficult to assess the actual impact on the natural water table. Water level data are being collected and analysed and these will be assessed against data representing the natural water table in the area. The 10-year monitoring programme, associated with the time-limited licence, is designed to establish the long term environmental impact of the abstraction.