Backwell to Farleigh

This map shows all the road, watercourse and public right of ways this scheme will affect. Zoom in to the area of interest to you and find out what is happening when. Click the icon to find out basic information or read below for a more detailed description.

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The work current planned for Backwell to Farleigh forms part of a new £27 million water main which will secure the supply to 280,000 people across Somerset. 30km of water main will be installed between Barrow Gurney and Cheddar, via Banwell, leaving thousands with a better more reliable water supply. With the population of Somerset predicted to boom over the coming years the main will also cater for the increase in demand.

280,000 people will have a much more secure water supply once the scheme is complete. What this means is Bristol water will be able to get water to the areas such as Cheddar, Banwell, Burnham, Weston-super-Mare and Glastonbury through more than one route. So if there is a burst main leaving you without water Bristol Water can switch to the second main keeping you in water. The population of Somerset and North Somerset is expected to grow by over 100,000 people by 2030, making it one of Europe’s fastest growing areas. This new main will help the area keep in water with this massive increase in demand.

The Latest

Planning permission has now been granted by both North Somerset Council and Sedgemoor District Council. There are certain pre-commencement conditions on the permission relating to newt protection and highways design around the compounds.

It is likely that work will commence in Sedgemoor shortly.

Exactly what is happening between Backwell and Farleigh?

The pipeline in this area will begin at Stancombe Quarry and head west and to the south of Backwell on towards West Town. Most of the work will be across fields.

The second phase of this work is still being designed to try to minimise any disruption. The earliest we could start is winter 2016. The work will begin at Stancombe Quarry and head towards Backwell across fields. The work in Backwell then becomes difficult as we need to avoid the A370 and the old quarry, the land south of Backwell is also too high to allow the water flow needed for the new pipeline. Therefore we will need to put the pipeline along Church Lane which means it is likely to involve a road closure for a number of months.


The schedule for the project is still being worked out. At this stage we cannot say when we will between Backwell and Farleigh. The deadline for the overall project is March 2018.

How did we pick this route? 

The route of the main was narrowed down from eight possible options. The scheme has been designed with the impact on the environment and customers at the forefront as well trying to find the best engineering solutions. There were many obstacles in the way including the airport, many ancient woodlands and of course the Mendip hills which have to be avoided, restricting the possible route options. The final route also minimises the impact on major commuter’s route such as the A38 and A370.

One of the biggest engineering accomplishments of the scheme is the ability to use gravity, rather than pumping, to get water from Barrow all the way to Cheddar. This dramatically reduces the energy usage and means the pumping station in Barrow Gurney does not need to be upgraded. This also keeps the running costs of the main lower once in operation.

The impact on the environment has been at the centre of the design work. The area is rich in biodiversity ranging from Dormice, Great Crested Newts, Bats as well as a range of plant life. Bristol Water aim to leave all sites involved in the project in a better environmental position than at the start. To do this they have designed a Biodiversity Index Score system, which was trialled at a few schemes between 2010 and 2015, included the construction of the Millmarsh Reservoir near Frome. The scheme won a Green Apple Award in 2015 for environmental best practise. Any hedges that need to be felled during the scheme will be kept to 7m gaps as to not disrupt bat navigation routes. The work will also be taking place outside of the bird breeding season to minimise the impact.

Contact details

If you wish to receive regular email updates on this project please email

If you have any questions please email Caroline Glanville at