Drive to stop flooding

ABB industrial drives are to power the UK’s largest pumping station to stop 200km2 of land in the Cambridge Fens from flooding. The six 1250kW drives will protect more than 25,000 properties, businesses, conservation sites and extensive areas of high-grade agricultural land.

The £38m station is being built with the help of 45 per cent grant from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and Atkins is the lead consultant responsible for this project. ABB estimate that the drives will be installed in 2009 and the site will be operational by March 2010.

The drives will adjust the pumps to suit a wide range of flows and each will operate to match actual flow demand, responding immediately whenever circumstances change. The pumps will also provide quicker response at start-up, as they do not need priming and will pump water from the land into the tidal Great Ouse river.

The land is below sea level following centuries of peat shrinkage and wind erosion. The current station compromises four pump sets delivering a total capacity of about 70m3/sec. Each of the six new pump sets will be able to raise 16.66m3/sec to a static head of 4.25m, giving a total capacity of 100m3/sec. This will give the new station the capacity to deal with extreme events.