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Rare moth find changes £6 million King's Lynn sewer upgrade

A rare moth, which was thought to have been extinct in Norfolk, has been discovered during sewer upgrade works in Lynn.

Anglian Water is pumping £6 million into replacing more than a mile of pipes near the A148 and the A47 in a project which is expected to last for several months.

But the company says it has now changed the route of the pipeline following the discovery of the Commophila aeneana, known as the Orange Conch, during ecological surveys of the area.

The orange conch moth, found during preparations for sewer upgrade works in Lynn (20482477)
The orange conch moth, found during preparations for sewer upgrade works in Lynn (20482477)

They say the move, along with other measures, is meant to make sure the insects' habitat isn’t disturbed.

Anglian Water spokesman David Hartley said: “We take our role in the environment very seriously, and although we are investing millions of pounds into the area, it’s imperative that we do so with the environment in mind.”

The orange conch is found in some parts of southern England, but had been thought to have been lost to Norfolk before the latest discovery.

Ecologists warned there was a risk of a “major impact” on the species if the pipe work continued as had been planned, because of the effect on the ragwort plant in whose roots the moths live.

As well as changing the route of the pipeline, the company says it also changed its construction methods in order to further reduce the impact of the project.

A total of 2.2 kilometres, or just under a mile and a half, of pipework is being replaced during the project, which is expected to be completed next April.

Most of the work is taking place in fields close to the roads, although there is expected to be a period of around two weeks towards the end of the scheme when temporary traffic lights will be in place to enable the new pipe to be connected to the network.

Mr Hartley said: “We’re really pleased that this vital work will help to improve the existing sewer network, ensuring a more resilient wastewater network in the area.”

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